Karen's Story

 

All entries in this section are Karen's.  At the top are the newest and progress back in time down to when she first started this website. They were done either before her transplant surgery, after her transplant surgery once she was able to type again, or prior to her last Emory stay beginning on August 15, 2008.

 

8-12-08 - It's me. I'm actually at the ER at Emory right now. I've been here since 3:30p. The past couple of days my heart rate has really been high. This morning I felt like my heart was going to jump out of my chest. I took my BP and pulse and my heart rate was 147!!  Talking about tachycardia. I  called my Cardiologist and she told me to take a Lopressor (to lower heart rate). She said if it didn't get down to 110 to come to the ER and have an EKG. It only went down to 123, so here we are, 10p still in the ER. My cardiologist said not to take any more Lopressor and that the ECHO of my heart looked beautiful. It's more of my fluid shifts. My potassium was low, so they started it in IV. It's 10:10p now and this takes 6 hrs. They just put another IV in my other arm to give me some Albumin which will take 4 hrs to go in. They said after all this I could go home.  Well, by then we are looking 3-4am getting outta here.....YUCK. Donnie brought me and my mom and dad met us here.****Also my x-ray results came back and she said I have Spondyosis??? in the middle and lower back. It makes my spine less flexible. She said "bone is growing over bone".  She gave me pain pills for now. So we'll see.  I go back to her in 2 weeks. Donnie's B-day was Sunday and my mom and dad came over. He's been very tired lately and has had training and range on his past couple of off days. **Anyway, I hope to get out and go home. The boys start school on Monday.  I can't believe they will both go from 8a to 2:30p. Well, I"m getting tired so I will post again later. Thanks for all the prayers, support and donations!!

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8-8-08- Hi everyone! I heard back from ct scan and they said there was really nothing they saw except for some gallstones, but they said it's nothing to worry about unless my pain gets worse. I saw my primary doctor about my migrains and back and neck pain. I should have the results today.**Yesterday my dad came over and we got out of the house. I didn't do much after that. We all went to bed early last night. DJ had a training class yesterday and was wore out. I can't believe the boys are going to be back in school Aug 18th.  I will miss them not being  at the house. I guess I could finish my scrapbook and make some more bracelets. Anyway - I'll do another update when I get the results from my neck, spine, and back.  **Thanks for everyone's support and prayers**

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8-6-08 - Well it's Wednesday morning and not much has been going on. Sunday was a bust as far as me getting out. I'll tell you, it's not really my usual symptoms. I'm fine as far as the liver part goes. I have had severe back pain. It starts at the bottom and goes up to the tip top of my neck, which it's done a couple of times a long time ago. This past week and a half my pain is all around the bottom of my neck in the back. I can't find a comfortable way to sit or lay. Anyway, I'm going to my regular doctor today and check that out. I also have to have a dexa scan (bone density test) today or tomorrow. My muscles have still been getting weaker rather than stronger. I've been eating like a pig when I can. The three doses of the Neupogen shots put me in bed last weekend and made me sick (vomit) all day. So, I did all that work for weight gain and just those 3 doses blew it. I'm now back down to 92 lbs. I was staying steady around 102-104lbs.**Yesterday my dad was over and helped play with the boys. I rested a couple of hours and started making thank you cards! **Monday my dad came over to get me out of the house and that was nice. **Anyway let's see what the docs say today about my back and neck. I'll update again later.  Have a great day! DJ is off and the boys are home so I'm very happy!  Thanks for your support and prayers....

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8-2-08 - Well hello. So far so good today it's  11am. I got up around 8a to get a couple things on the computer done before the boys got up.**Thursday I was told I had NO infection in my fluid and NO infection in my blood cultures either. I told the Doctor about the last 2 weeks of my night sweats. I woke up during the night several times soaking wet. My hair, neck, shirt & pillow. He said that concerned him meaning I have an infection somewhere, so he started the Levaquin back again. Later we found out that something was growing in one of my urine cultures. So that was that. We were still waiting on the CT scan results. My mom had spent the night again, DJ had to work. My dad came up first thing every morning to keep me company. My aunt Helen and cousin Taylor came to see me also.**My Doctor in Pitt called on my cell phone with NO REJECTION and NO INFECTION ! Yiipppeeee. I was feeling much better by now, except for the site pain from the drain. They said there was no point in keeping me another night for the ct results so I could go home after they drained me completely! They got 3 liters in the ER and Thursday night they got 4.1 liters! That's 7.1 all together and there was still atleast another liter, but they stop when the drain site starts hurting. They will call with the ct results when they get them. *** I was finally discharged around 7:30p!! ** Late Friday afternoon I got ready and got out with DJ and the boys. I HAD to get out and get some fresh air even though I felt horrible. I wore my Oxygen in the car. I got out once and stayed in the car the other 2 stops. I laid down when we got home with an ice pack they recomended and took something for pain. **Thanks to everyone for all your cards, prayers and support. *Still a BIG Thanks to my mom's entire office and building for the fundraiser** Please say a prayer for the donor family and Brandon and his family. Going to read to the boys if they will sit still. DJ has a game tonight with the office.

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7-30-08 -  Well it's me. I was admitted to Emory yesterday. I was scheduled to come in today (wed) for my same ol drain. I have been so bad off this weekend that Donnie called Tuesday morning to see if they had any cancellations or possible work me in since I was having other pains and symtoms that I had not had before. Well, emergencies happen and I was not drained in the transplant center but my doctor wanted me to be admitted anyway because of other symptons. The time had gotten very late and the clinic was closing at 430pm. I had been waiting for a bed up stairs at the hospital since 2:30p or so. When the clinic closed my nurse called in my report to the ER so they would not have to start everything over again. She gave me the report and it said I was there waiting for a bed to open, and that I had already been seen by my liver doctor and that was it.  VERY long story short..... They tried and tried to assess me, I did let the ER doctor get my "history" again. It was 2am and I kindly asked if I was going to be drained in the ER or get a bed until the morning then I could go home and come back the next day (today). They thought I had an infection in my ascitic??spell- fluid and they had to drain some fluid to test and for safety I need to stay in case it did come back postive.....so on I waited. They ended up draining 3 liters. They gave me an antibiotic thru my IV just in case.  I wouldn't risk this beautiful new heart or lungs for anything. We got a call that my bed was ready around 7:30p so I got excited. But that excitement lasted 1 min. Another person came in and said they need blood cultures also. Then they came in and told the transport guy I had to have a chest x-ray before going to by room.  My anxiety level was at a high and I kindly asked why they waited until I had a room to do all of this. I said I had been in the ER waiting for a bed for 7 - 8hrs. I asked why  couldn't they have done all this WHILE I was waiting???? Very tired and sore at this point. Well, we got in a room at 2:15am, AND of course nurse on the floor had to do the same things, go over meds, weight and order my night meds whick took about 20-30min to come up.*Thanks to mom, dad & DJ for staying late. My mom spent the night in my room.* Anyway first thing this morning I was told that me being a transplant patient and I was on a Cystic Fibrosis floor only, I would once again have to be moved off this floor. Anyway enough about that.***** I want to say thanks to everyone at my mom's office and entire building for the fundraiser going on today. I was supposed to be there....well Sorry to everyone that I couldn't be a part of a wonderful thing everyone is doing. Thanks to Jeannie for organizing, Glynda for providing most of the hot dogs and other staff who helped get everything ready.  Thanks to Deana for helping grill the dogs.  My aunt Helen even came to my mom's office and brought stuff she baked and help set up and worked it.  Thanks Helen.**** Jeannie's sister, Joyce, also came and helped by serving as cashier and brought goodies to sell.  Thanks, Joyce! Anyway.. They are coming to get me for a ct scan.... bye until tonight,unless I am feeling really bad.

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7-27-08 - Hi, it's me. Sorry about the late post. We got home very late Friday night.**Wednesday I went to have my bloodwork and chest x-ray completed before 10:15a. Then we had a Very long walk to the Montifore part of hospital to have my PFT's (pulmonary function tests) done and then see Dr. Crespo in clinic. She said my numbers had gone down, but that was to be expected since I was full of fliud from my liver. She also said my white blood cell count was very low and that I would need 4 doses of the nasty Neupogen shots. They are the ones that make every bone in my body hurt and I stay sick (vomiting) while on them. They didn't take effect right away like they did last time. It hit me very late Friday night as I was going to bed. She also wants me to have another dexascan for my osteoperosis. She also said my muscle mass looked worse. I'm all bones. She asked about my MELD score for my liver/kidney transplant at Emory and since it's still low, she could help Dr. Spivey in his letter to get me a higher score. Once I get the results from my biopsy and she can assure them that I have no rejection in heart or lungs, then that means it's all liver and no other problems. I look good on paper in how the calculate their score but I'm getting more and more new symptoms and more pain. But I don't "look" sick. She also would like me to come back to Pitt soon and go thru their liver transplant evaluation and get listed theirs also. There is a decline for "good" livers and decline in liver donators also. Anyway....I'll let everyone know when the results are back. ** Wednesday is the day I can go out. Me, mom and dad went to the Cheesecake Factory and a couple of stores. I walked a lot that day, which I need to do to build muscle mass.**Thursday I had my bronc and biopsy. It took me a little while to wake up this time. I just laid around that day like usual. I was still Loopy from the anesthesia. My throat always hurts from the tube and I cough for about 3 days afterwards.**Friday we had no flight problems and we were home. I missed DJ and the boys.*Saturday and Sunday (today) I could really tell the shots effects. Mom was over and I took my pain pill and stayed in bed almost the entire day, same for today. Donnie's parents wanted to take the boys to Stone Mtn, so they left about 3p and I sent mom home. She had watched the boys for 2 days. I'm up now (6:45p) then DJ and I may watch a movie together. Thanks for all the prayers and support from everyone! I hope to have the results from the biopsy tomorrow or Tuesday.

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7-22-08- Hi again. We flew in to Pittsburgh today for my 3 month bronc/biopsy. DJ has come with me everytime, so we decided to let mom and dad go. The boys will be back in school before we know it, so DJ can spend some time with them. We had a very long traveling day. Our 8:55am Flight was delayed until 12:25pm, we would have missed our 12:49pm connecting flight. They re-booked us on a 10:08a flt, we thought everything was fine....oh no! While loading the CHECKED bags that had gone thru SECURITY, or while they were tossing the bags on the belt, Fireworks...Fireworks fell out of one of the bags and of course that a big safety hazard, we were delayed again. They had to take every checked bag off the plane and RE-Screen all checked bags unless the person owned up to it. Of course no one did, they would have been arrested. As time went by, they finally said we would depart without any checked bags and the bags would be around 20 mins behind us. Most people only had  25-30min to get to their flight. I know the people going on to Tokyo and Hawaii will probably never see their bags again until they get home or later. Good luck to all of them. Anyway... We made our connection and finally arrived around 4pm....whew what a day. I have to be at the hospital at 815a for my x-rays, bloodwork, PFT's and clinic with my Doctor. Thursday I go in at 7am for a 9a bronc/biopy, we are done after that unless she wants a ct scan or drain me. I'll try to post again before we leave to come home Friday. A BIG thanks to my special "Angel" for donating her skymiles for 3 tickets. You know who you are!  Goodnight....

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7-19-08 - Hi everyone. Sorry I haven't posted in a week. I haven't felt well for most of the days. Let's see, last Sunday mom was over and she helped out and did some laundry and clean a little. I had to lay down for a couple of hours, my pain was so bad. I got up around 2p or so and then went to ride with her and the boys to get some air. On Monday, I went out with DJ and the boys to get some air, while they ran an errand or two. I stayed in the van. My pain was bad so I laid down for about an hour or so. I have also had dry heaves about every morning.Tuesday I wasn't so bad off, so we took the boys to Stone Mountain to see the laser show. I was ok until we walked to the train so the boys could ride, then the walk back to the lawn. My pain had started to come back. I laid down on the blanket and caught by breath and felt ok by the time the show started. Wednesday I was in pain again all day in fact I called Emory and talked to the on call Doctor. I explained where all my pain was and he said it sounded like a trapped hernia to him. He said he would see my doctor 1st thing the next morning and talk to him and they would fit me in somehow. Thursdays are their busiest days, All transplant recipients go in that day for blood work and dr. appts. I had bloodwork and then saw Dr. Spivey. He felt my stomach and could barely feel the hernia, but it wasn't trapped. Glad to hear that, because that would have meant surgery for the hernia. He did say my kidney crit. was down to normal for me. So he said to hold the octreotide shots and the midodrine pills and come back in three to four weeks and then see if my kidney numbers are the same or have gone up. I love not having to do 3 shots a day and 4 on Mondays! He said he will write a letter to the board to get me a higher MELD score, I seem to be having more and more pain and not feeling well. He said he could tell I've lost more muscle mass since he had been seeing me. Anyway, I'm going to try to get out with DJ and the boys....

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7-12-08 - It's me. I have had an up and down week. Everyone came to my house for my mom's birthday on the 10th. I didn't feel well at all that day. I went to bed around 8:30p because I was in so much pain.

Friday Donnie's mom picked the boys up around 10:30a to give me a break. I was still feeling very bad. I don't like when I can't play with them. She took them swimming at my sister-in-laws neighborhood pool. They played with their cousin Emma and Amanda. I had dry heaves most of the morning again. **Today my nephew Austin came over before going to his dad's house to go fishing. My mom came over as usual on the weekends that DJ has to work. My dad also dropped by to see the boys and Austin. **I really felt the worst I had felt in a very long time. I took a pain pill and got back in bed. My mom watched the boys while I rested until DJ got home. I felt much better once I got up. I even went outside for a few to watch the boys ride their bikes and swim in the blow-up pool Carter got for his birthday. Not much else going on. Tomorrow I am going to see if I feel better since my rest and get out of the house with my mom & the boys...Please pray I feel better and can play with my boys and go out! I may need to adjust one of my meds or something. It's not my belly and the fluid, I'm pretty flat right now.

*I put some more pictures in my gallery that go back to my stay in the hospital. I'm still woking on it!  **Also my moms office is having a fundraiser at her office on July 30th. Thanks to everyone who is arranging it. I think it's going be a Hot Dog sale (lunch) and a bake sale with a raffle at the end! Well It's late and I'm going to bed...

Thanks for all the support and prayers!

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7-8-08 - Hi! I can say that I felt great yesterday and I can tell I'm getting more strenth. I actually loaded the dishwasher and put a load of clothes in the wash!! The boys were WILD all day, I handled it and I think 1st (by myself) time since getting sick again in January with my liver & kidney.**Today was one of the bad days. I think I pulled a muscle in my arm trying to do some stuff I haven't been able to do. My dad came over because we were going to Target and get groceries. I felt WAY to bad to get out. Having liver disease has all kinds of side effects. Sometimes, well, most of the time I am confused and/or have short term memory loss, migrane headaches, throwing up only on certain times or days, don't know why. The boys were wild and didn't want to play outside, but my dad was here to help!! He folded some laundry and watched the boys. I still need to get out to pick up my Mom's birthday present..... It's this week! AAAHHHH! Anyway I'm still adding more pictures...there are some old ones of my nurses and my surgeon....etc. I'll keep updating when I can. Thanks for all the prayers and support!

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7-6-08 - Well, we are back from the lake. We had so much fun. The boys were glad to see us and dito for me and DJ. I felt GREAT all weekend. I'm trying to build my strength still. I walked (instead of riding the golf cart) down the paved way to the dock. I also got in and out of the boat with no help and climbed a hill of sand. We beached the boat on an island so the boys could swim. After I took a few pictures,Donnie's dad and I sat in the shade and watched my boys and my neice Emma and everyone else swim. It was very relaxing. The water was very low, so you had to really watch where you were going.  Donnie and Jason (brother-in-law) shot off the huge pack of fire works from far away on dry dirt/land. There were about 4 or 5 others on the lake shooting them also. We had several to watch. I'll put some more pictures up tomorrow if I get a chance. Thanks for all the prays and post!  Goodnight.

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7-3-08 - Hi again! Today I felt very good. My dad dropped by and took me to the store for a couple of things. It's very lonely without the boys here & Donnie is working. We are going to the lake in the morning. I will have no computer,no service there, so I will post again on Sunday. Until then continue to pray for Brandon and his family. Also don't forget all the donor families!  Thanks to everyone for your continued posts and prayers. I really believe that prayer does work!!! Bye for now and I hope everyone has a great 4th of July weekend.

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7-02-08 - Well my stomach was huge yesterday. My entire body hurt. My heating pad that usually helps did NOTHING for my back or side pain. I didn't sleep a wink. *My dad took me to Emory for my appt. but of cource I was not as big as I had been this weekend. She did not want to  drain me, but she waited for my bloodwork to come back and checked all the numbers and cell counts and everything was ok. She said she would drain what she could so I would be comfortable for this weekend. She was only able to get 1.9 liters. That's nothing, she usually gets 5.5-6.5 liters. I was drained dry and I could tell because my site where she goes in was hurting. I feel better now except for the site pain where she went in. I asked about a new pain med but they didn't want to give my anything stronger because my liver cannot break down the hard meds. Another doctor suggested an ice pack on the site, so we'll see.***I worked on my scrapbook a little until Donnie got home and then we called the boys to say goodnight and we would see them tomorrow night. I'm going to go, but I'm taking my scrapbook stuff with me. I can work on it when or if I stay in for a day or half the day. They ride 45min to the beach area we like. Once we get there we sit still for an hour or two. I get tooo hot just sitting. Most of my meds say stay out of the sun, I tend to get dizzy when I get hot! *Hunter learned to ski last year and Carter said when he turned 5 (like Hunter was when he tried) he would try....so we'll see when Daddy gets there if he really will try.  He said he would TRY on the phone tonight..who knows. I met a lot of people in the transplant clinic that come in often like I do. There were 4 people there today and I meet a new one. We sat around and talked about each other's experience, although, I'm the only one who has had a Heart/Dbl Lung. Ther other's have had 1 lung, 2 lung or a kidney/liver transplant. Good talking to everyone today. I'm sure I'll see you again very soon.  Good Luck to all and I will be praying for all.....

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6-30-08- Hi again. Not much to report. Yesterday I felt just as bad as I did Saturday. My mom came over again Sunday and took the boys to eat and play at the park. She also took them to her house to see PaPa for a little bit so I could lay down for a couple of hours. I'm getting very full and when I get to this point I have NO appetite. I haven't really eaten in 2 days. I lost a pound, just when I started gaining a tiny bit. I can't breathe very well at this point. ***Today I did feel better and my stomach didn't seem so big. It goes down Sometimes during the night. Both boys had appointments to get their teeth cleaned this morning and Donnie took them so I could rest and maybe get out later. We took the boys to a movie to get them out of the house. They are going up to the lake tomorrow for the 4th with Donnie's parents. Donnie has to work until Thursday, so we might go up Thursday evening or Friday morning. It depends on how I feel. I have an appt. at Emory for this Wednesday to get drained, so we'll see how I feel. I was tired when we got home from the movie and I'm going to bed early! Goodnight....

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6-28-08 - Well, today is the first day I haven't felt well since way before vacation. It's all really just my stomach. I've had dry heves today and unable to eat anything. My mom came over around lunch and took the boys to Mickey D's to play. They ran a couple of errands and I laid down while they were gone. Mom said I was sleeping hard when they got back about 2 1/2 later. I got up when they got back. I did another page in my scrapbook and then Donnie was home. He fixed the kids and himself dinner and then we all went to bed. I couldn't sleep so I got on my website and changed it up a little. I was getting bored with the other one. As you can see, it's still a big work in progress. I also can't seem to get my new photo gallery posted the right way. I will work on it again tomorrow....Sorry.

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6-27-08 - Well, not much going on. I have felt great most everyday since we've been back from vacation. That sure helped my stress level and get my mind off everything. My dad came over Monday the 23rd and we ran some errands and got out of the house. I like when he comes by to help with the boys and keep me company. He didn't feel very well Tuesday but he still dropped by to check on me!  :) LOVE DAD! I'm sure you all love hearing about my tests and things....so, I had to start the 24hr urine collection for my kidneys. Once the 24hr period is up, I, well (Donnie) tooK me & the boys to Emory to turn it in and they do blood work right then. How fun does that sound. It's not a short driv but we were only there 10 minutes. I think or I know, that was the shortest time I've every stayed at Emory. It's always atleast 4-5 hrs just to get drained. Which speaking of that, I have been able to go 18-20 days wiithout having to go in! The shots I do and my sodium diet have really helped out on that part. I'll probably end up going middle of next week or so.****Oh - I don't know if I mentioned it or not, Thanks to my in-laws for watching our dog Erie while on vacation. Donnie's dad is getting better from his back surgery. He got out last week and has to wear a back brace for now. Please remember him in your prayers! Please pray for my friend Mallory who had a liver transplant and Brandon for his loss and of course the donor families! **I better go for now the boys are getting wild. My dad is going to come after lunch. **I'm also still working on a new place for pictures. The picture page just wasn't working, so I figured out how to add a photo gallery. I will put up some old ones also. Infact, I'm going to try to go back to the nurses and doctors in Pittsburgh who did my surgery.....*work still in progress*

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6-22-08 - Hello to everyone finally! I'm sorry but I actually got to go to the beach, first time going anywhere in three years! As you can tell by my blog, I did NOT take my computer. I loved my time with just my family, no phones, no computer, just my camera. For those of you that don't know, I am a picture fanatic! I LOVE photography of anything! My mom and dad went with us to get away also and help with the kids. They had so much fun. They had been with me since 2005 off and on while I was sick with no vacation either. I had a GREAT time! BUT-  You know me* I visited the ER Saturday night around 7pm, the 2nd night. I had thrown up ALL day almost, and I mean ALL day. I finally gave in and went. It was the big hospital that sees transplant patients come thru on vacation, so I wasn't that scared?  Yes I was. I was still sick while they were putting in an IV. Donnie told them my history and so they did all the tests from bloodwork to an ekg, gave me a bag of fluids etc...  Thanks to GOD it was nothing big. It turned out to be food poisoning... My dad had the same thing and he got sick that night, ALL night while we were in the ER. We got back in around 4:30am. *I felt 150% better after I slept and got up that morning. I had a great time the rest of the trip! I got in the pool with boys. I watched them play forever! They are water rats. They also went swimming every night we got in from whatever it was we were doing. I stayed down on the beach (under the beach tent) with my feet up and the boys built sand castles. Me, Hunter and Carter found sea shells to bring home. Dad was in the ocean and me, Carter and my mom video taped and took pictures of Hunter and daddy. My "no fear" Hunter, went parasailing with daddy. He had a great time. Hunter is getting very good with swimming under water without swimmies or anything. Carter had a small surf board and swimmies for the pool and he stayed on that most of the time. He will now also jump to me or Donnie off the side and knows we will catch him. They both made friends that they saw and played with every day. The beach had changed so much! Donnie did hear someone talking about a Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville!  Sure enough we found it! That night was the best, we ate outside on the deck with live music and of course we HAD to go the Buffett store!  They are building all new shops and things where the new pier is going. The other was wiped out by the hurricane a few years ago. They had also re-built Pineapple Willeys! That was another great night.  **Sorry Doc. but I did have the bucket of ribs and I enjoyed every last one of them!** They boys did the race track two different nights. Donnie and Hunter in one car and my mom and Carter in the other. I still don't have that much strength to turn the driver's wheel. Guess what I was doing instead?...Taking pictures of course. We only had one afternoon shower so great weather the entire time.We did have a short shower or two during the night. The boys usually sleep with nana and papa but they wanted to sleep on the pull out sofa. I think so they could see out their balcony slide door so they new it was morning and they could get in the pool.  Donnie and I had the front bedroom with a sliding door to the balcony. We slept with the windows open. I LOVE to hear the ocean waves at night......it was so peaceful. There were families staying where we were so no loud parties. I was completely calm and NO STRESS!  Let's see how long that lasts now that I'm back. I do feel great still today, just swollen belly and feet. I do have to go to Emory this week....back to the same routine now :(    Ha Ha! ***Today we went to my Aunt Helen's retirement party her husband and others threw for her. I was able to see my extended family again this year before Thanksgiving. Congrats to you Helen! We love you!** I guess I need to get to bed now. I'll put a few pictures on the pictures page if I can tonight!  God Bless everyone! Thanks once again for all the cards, donations and especially the prayers! Please remember the donor family also!

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6-10-08 - Hello again! Yesterday I did go to Emory to get drained. You have to wait until your bloodwork comes back before they can start the drain.  My doctor came in and said they may not drain me yet. My red blood cell count was so low she said I needed a blood transfusion??? I was shocked. I knew my white cell count was down but had no idea about my red. I do a shot every Monday for my red ones.  My white count was the same as the last week when they told me to hold half of my myfortic (rejection med) to see if that made the white come back up, well it didn't, so I'm back on two a day of my myfortic.  They were only worried about my red count at this time.  They did go ahead and drained 5.6 liters. I had an extra bottle of albumin and had to sit and wait a few before they let me go. That explained my dizziness and feeling week this past week. My dad brought me home and I went to bed earlier because we had to leave at 5:45a this morning...Yuck.  My mom rode over to my house with him to watch the boys. Donnie's mom was at the hospital with his dad for his back surgery. My mom laid down with them to get some more sleep since it was 5:30a. They started the blood around 8a in the infusion center and it took 6 hours for 2 untis to go in. My dad would get up every now and then to get some air. It was hot in that center. I was cold and had a blanket but after the first thing of blood got in, I was getting warm.  We got out of there around 2:15 or so.  I can tell a HUGE difference. I don't feel as weak and I have much more color now. When Donnie got home frome work - that's the first thing he said and how much more color I had and how much better I looked.  I'm good to go out of town this Friday. I just have to go back and see them when I get home!! Thanks for all the support and prayers. Please say a prayer for my father-in-law. As of now, 9:45p his is still in recovery because they don't have any rooms available yet but they should have one soon.

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6-8-08- Hi! We have had a busy week. Carter's actual birthday was Thursday the 5th. Me and my dad took the boys to Chuck E Cheeses.  We had a bunch of tokens left over from two previous parties we had attended. So I split them up and it was plenty. I thought it would be busy, I guess a lot of families are on vacation or something? After that we ran by Build a Bear and let them pick out what they had been wanting.  Hunter is not really into "bears" and things but I knew they had a Dinosoar! He knows almost all of them by name.  He has a few books we read about dinosoars and loves the Jurassic Park movie so he gets it from that movie also. Carter of course pick the Husky Dog. That was the first stuffed animal I gave him, I think it's a webkin.  He sleeps and drags it around every where. He know has the bigger one he stuffed. He had a great birthday! Donnie got home and played with both the boys until bedtime.****I was miserable that day but like I said before, I will try my best to take them out with help even in pain.  It was my swollen feet that made it so bad. I could hardly walk and put pressure on them. ***Donnie was off Friday and he set up the bounce and table ect... for the party. The boys played and help daddy all day. I stayed off my feet all day while they were entertained. We did Donnie's dads Father's Day friday night. One reason is he's having back surgery Tuesday and will be in the hospital and the other reason is we will be out of town on Father's Day. He wouldn't felt up to it then anyway.  I didn't go because my of my feet and I'm very full of fluid and was hurting all over. I took a pain pill and went to bed. Please say a pray for my father-in-law for his surgery. I did get to see him Saturday at Carter's Party. Carter had a blast at his party! It was hot, but we had two fans going and plenty of drinks for everyone.  We did the cake and other stuff inside. He had a Monster Truck cake. Today they opened a few of the toys to  play with while Donnie and I rested. One of their friends from the neighborhood came to play. He's a very sweet and polite boy. Nothing much - I am at my fullest now and I'm going to Emory in the morning for bloodwork and to be drained. I better go for now..it's late and I have to get up very early to make it to Emory on time!  Thanks again for your emails, posts and prayers.

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6-4-08 - Hi everyone. I'm feeling really good right now and the past couple of days. Everything would be fine if my feet would stop swelling soooo bad. Donnie was off the past two days. We stayed in Monday and cleaned house blah blah blah. The boys cleaned their room so they could go out and play.  Tuesday we went out to pick up one more thing for the birthday party and grabbed a bite to eat.  It was so pretty we got back home quick so we could stay outside on such a nice day. Donnie stained the swing set and added two things to it.  It looks brand new again. We got the outdoor toys like their water play table and such. The playground is finished!  We should have a great party Saturday! Donnie's aunt has a Monster Truck bounce she is letting us use also! Tomorrow is his actual birthday so my dad will go with me and take them to Chuck E Cheeses for a little bit.  Today my dad came over and took me to pick up Carter's big gift in his truck. They are at my in-laws today so we could get that and get things wrapped while they were not here. I've had a great time lately playing with the boys outside.  I guess my fluid is going to my feet now.  My stomach is not that huge yet. I'm going to go next Monday or Tuesday to get drained and comfortable before going to the beach!! ***Thanks to everyone for their support and prayers. They are working because I have felt good these past few days!!   Love to all!

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6-1-08 - Hello. It's me again finally!  Not really much to report. Tuesday (27th) Donnie's mom wanted the boys over so they went and played with their cousin Emma.  I had a follow-up appt. with my pulmonologist Wednesday - I don't really know what it was for. I had the appt. when I got out of the hospital a while back. He said everything sounded fine in my lungs. He wanted me to see my liver doctor instead because my feet are staying SO swollen I'm having a hard time staying on my feet. I've been trying to gain my muscle back. I actually can feel a tiny calf muscle returning! He said walk and do what I need to do for strength and then come in for the day and keep my feet up.  I want to be a little stronger before going to the BEACH!  My white blood count is very low so they told me to cut my Myfortic (rejection) med to one a day for a week and then have my blood checked in a week. I hope it goes up. If it doesn't I will be put on the horrible Neupogen SHOTS that make my very sick and every bone in your body hurts.  Pray my count goes up!! That would be three shots everyday and four on Mondays..Yuck. Donnie, the boys and I all went out and eat and did some errands. We met our friends and took the boys to see Indiana Jones. The boys went to the lakehouse with Donnie's parents for the weekend. I had three days to myself. I actually did some beading and relaxed.  My mom and dad came by to check on me.  I was so excited to see the boys Sunday evening when they got home. They had a blast even though they were not allowed in the water. I want to make sure their pneumonia is all gone.  They fished, rode on the wave runner with paw paw and played in the sand at our favorite beach area. Thanks to my neighbor Amy and her daughters for bringing dinner Sunday night. It was perfect timing. Donnie had just worked 3 12hr shifts in a row and I was unable to have anything ready.  Thanks to everyone for their support and prayers. xoxoxo.  I guess I'll go now. We have some work to do before Carter's Birthday Party. Well, Donnie will do the lifting and things like that! Have a great day..

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5-27-08- It's me - late again as usual. I've had a very busy week.

I've been walking a lot more. Mom was over Sun (18th) and for some reason a was in MAJOR stomach pain so I didn't do much at all that day. The next was the same - the worst pain yet since my surgery. It was in the middle, where my hernia  is and in my lower abdomen. My dad took the boys out that day and went to McDonald's to play on the playground and to the park so I could take a pain pill and lay down. He really helped me out. I have felt free fluid in my left lung when I lay down. So I slept with my oxygen a couple of nights. I had an appt. with Dr. Spivey to get drained on Wed (21st) but I was not half as full as I normally am so I didn't have to go. Carter started to have a fever and started coughing really bad so I took him in and he has 2 meds to take right now. Hunter is also coughing. Every season change he has to do the nebulizer breathing treatment for a couple of weeks.  This time his cough actually was getting worse. It was over the weekend so I called the advice nurse and she heard how often (every 3-5 sec)  he was coughing. She said to get him to the ER immediately so his throat doesn't close. We've had to do this twice before. They give him steroids and did a chest exray. The went ahead and did one on Carter also. The both have pneumonia. Now they are on 3 meds each and Hunter also the breathing treatment every 3 hrs. I couldn' t believe they both had that. They have been playing around and on the playset, not groggy or tired. Anyway I have to keep my distance as much as possible so I don't get it.***Friday we all went to Hunter's Award ceremony at school for Kindergarten and end of the year party. He got 2 awards, diploma and a free Six Flags ticket for reading more than 600 words!! Saturday my mom took them out to eat and to granddaddy's house to play, I rested. I felt very good Sunday, so me and mom went the mall and went shopping. I got a couple of shirts that would fit me for now until I gain my weight back. Memorial day Donnie had to work and my mom and dad came over to keep me company. I've been feeling fine now except the swelling in my feet. I have an appt. tomorrow at Emory with my pulmonologist.  He wil check that out and do a chest xray. Donnie's mom is keeping the boys today. I going to relax and do whatever I want to today. I might make some more bracelets or other things. ******And we ARE going on a vacation while we can. We haven't had one in at least 3 yrs because I've been sickl Please pray nothing happens before the trip !!!!

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5-17-08 - OK!  I know I haven't put an update on here for . He came up toa while....Long story short I did go to Emory on Wed (7th) but I was not as big as usual. I called that am to ask and he wanted to see and check anyway check and my stomach was still soft and most of my organs were still in place and not pushed up in my chest.  It's too risky with my organs still in place. They could easily hit an organ then I would have to go straight to emergency surgery and we don't want that!  We ended up going home, no drain. My feet have been swelling and I have never had that happen. He said to watch them and if they get worse to call and come in. They usually think it's your heart. I just had it checked 2 months ago and they said it was beautiful. Not much else that week. I did go to Hunter's class for "Tea w/mom" on the 9th. He made me the cutest things. I was going to get drained that day also, but I still wasn't "full" so we didn't go. My sodium diet and the three shots I do everyday has kept me from going every week-  I went 17days without getting drained.  The less often the better anyway - it's hard on my kidneys doing it so often. After tea w/mom, we all went to Donnie's parents for Mother's day and Jason's birthday party that night. Saturday the 10th I was able to go out with my family to eat and to the mall. I felt pretty good all day. Mother's day my family ate and everyone came to my house. My brother, his wife and their little boy. We had a great day! Monday the 12th I met with one the of liver transplant surgeons. We talked and said he had some he had some good and bad news. ** I'll tell that story at the end.** Hunter had a field trip to the Atlanta Zoo, Donnie went with him. Thursday the 15th Carter "graduated" from 4yr old pre-k at church.  I didn't know they did that. I mean cap and gown and everything. He sang all his songs and said the bible verses he had learned. He was so cute! **********************************************************************************************************************************************************

OK - About the good/bad news. My surgeon came in with my blood work and it was almost  normal. My liver enzymes were all normal. My liver is still "functioning" and has been. It's the portal vein IN my liver that is blocked and backs up and causes the acites in my abdomen and belly. It will eventually get worse and I will still need a new liver at some point but not right now. I asked how long it may put my liver transplant off thinking 3-4 yrs. He immediately said NO, maybe a year and a half or 2. My MELD score dropped to 15 ( the number you are on the list) because my numbers were almost normal and they don't  transplant  anyone with a score of 15 or below. I'm still "active" on the list but  I would not get a call with a number that low. My kidney numbers were almost normal, mine was 1.6 and normal is 1 or lower.  It has been as high as 6 and 4.1.  In fact, he said if they stay that way I MAY not NEED a kidney. Please remember that this can all change in a day when I have blood work again. If my numbers are up- my MELD score will go up and put me back in the range for a call. Does this make sense to any of you? Meanwhile I was told I could go on VACATION while my score is low.  You don't know how HAPPY I am for my family and especially for the boys.  We've always gone on at least one if not two vacations a year. We have not been able to go on one since 2005. I can't wait for the boys to be able to go to the beach or a park.  We all deserve one!  We are trying to go ahead and plan one in June while my score is still low. So believe me we are planning and looking at dates for that.  Carter has a Birthday June 5th, so after that weekend we will try and go.  I will still have to deal with the fluid, side effects from my meds and still getting drained as needed.  BUT, I think I can handle that! We are scheduled to go to Pittsburgh for my bronc/biopsy late July. We want to get in that vacation before that also. I'm a little stressed but I kinda wanted all this done and over with so I can get back to my normal life.  God knows when it should happen,  just like he did for my heart/double lung one last year!  Please continue to pray - I think it is working and maybe heal everything.  Thanks for listening and reading such a long blog. I again will try to get back to a daily short one. Thanks for all the cards, donations and prayers. Thanks to my mom's office and Jeannie for keeping that snack bar going and bringing in more money!   Goodnight for now.

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5-4-08 - Donnie had to work so my parents took me and the boys to eat. I can't eat a big meal at once so I got one chicken strip and a hush puppy. Then we went to the mall. I'm still trying to walk and stay as mobile as possible. I bought Donnie one more small thing. Today is our 12 year anniversary!!  Time flies. Once we got home my mom stayed until Donnie got home to help with the boys. They played outside on the trampoline and swingset. I sat on the screened porch and watched.  When Donnie got home we exchanged gifts. I wasn't feeling real good by then, I had been out most of the day. Donnie was very tired also from working 3 twelves in a row so we chilled out that night.  We are going out next weekend to eat and do something. He only has to work two days this week.  A friend of ours called and offered Braves tickets for Tuesday night. Donnie will take the boys with his dad. They will have a GREAT time.  I'm not going to Emory until Wednesday to be drained so I would be miserable and not able to do stairs anyway.  It will be a good "boys night out".  My friend Rachel may come over and we can talk or go eat while they are at the game. **Over all I felt pretty good today. 

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5-3-08-  I woke up this morning with the dry heaves, a severe migrane/sinus headache. I'm full again so the pressure in my back was pretty bad. I decided to lay back down for about an our on my heating pad. I felt a little better after that. The boys were at mawmaw's until about four. My parents had asked if I wanted to come eat with them but I didn't really feel like getting ready and getting out. I actually turned the TV on and watched a movie!  I usually keep it quiet in the house when it's just me. My mom came over after they ate and did some laundry and helped me go thru my clothes to get everything hung back up in the closet. I got rid of a lot of clothes to give to charity. For some reason, since the first transplant I've become a neat freak. I sat on my bed while she did all the leaning and picking up of the clothes. She was a great help as usual. Thanks to my parents for always being here for me when Donnie has to work. Same to my in-laws for watching the boys to give me a rest.  **Thanks for everyone's thoughts and prayers.  I really appreciate everything everyone has done for my family!

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5-2-08  - Today was a great day. I got up around 10a and did nothing!  I put some pictures in albums that needed to be put up. I was going to start the boys scrapbook of their soccer season but couldn't find my stuff.  My dad called later and offered to get me out of the house and so we went to lunch and to a couple of stores. I got Donnie's Father's day gift and his anniversary gift. Thanks to my dad for helping me. We had a fun day together. I felt really good.  Hunter had field day at school and when mawmaw went to pick him up, he was drenched from head to toe and freezing. They let them throw water balloons and other things all day. They wanted to spend the night again so they did. The love to play with cousin Emma.  That's really all for now......

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5-1-08- Well today not much going on. I felt good today. I'm still in my crazy getting everything organized mood. I have gone thru 4 file cabinets and combined them all  to two. We really stayed at home during the day. We went to Donnie's mom's house for dinner and she cooked my meal without salt.  I was really good. We stayed and talked to them awhile, then left.  The boys spent the night so I could have a free day on Friday.  That's about it. Have a great night.

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4-30-08 - Today was "Muffins with Mom" at Carter's school so I got up early enough to catch my breath and get a shower and get ready slowly. I can't get right up and start going. So I took my time. Donnie had taken him at 9a and moms were to be there around 10:30. I will give it everything and be there for my boys.  Donnie dropped me off and picked me up afterwards. We came home and ate lunch and went to get Hunter. We ran in and out of Target and then Donnie stopped by another store while I stayed in the van. I felt pretty good today but my stomach is starting to get big again. I guess I will go get drained this Friday or try to make it thru the weekend without getting to the miserable point. It was so nice out today so Donnie did a little yard work and the boys played outside all day.

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4-29-08-  Today I woke up still feeling awful. I felt so weak and was still kinda panicing and having bad anxiety. I thought we were going to have to go to Emory last night or today. Donnie stayed home in case I had to go. I stayed in bed. He brought  my meds and drew up my shot for me also so I could rest a little longer, get my breath and get up. When I did get up I felt much better. After my dad's appointment he came by to check on me also :)  Meanwhile everything was serviced and fixed today. Donnie did get to Home Depot to get stronger hooks and things and put the rack back up. My mom and dad will be here this weekend while Donnie works and they will help me go thru my clothes, bags, boxes etc....The boys will stay with Donnie's parents Thursday and Friday so me and my parents can take care of my closet.  *Thanks again for all the support, cards and prayers. Please don't forget about Brandon (Karin's husband) and all the donor families.......

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4-28-08 -Today I did not feel well at all. I had all kind of pains in my stomach and my belly is hurting from the 3 shots everyday. It's gotten very hard to find a spot for my shots. The doctor said I could give them in my thigh or in my arm right under my shoulder blade, but had forgotten how thin I was and he said that was not an option for me, I would hit a vein or muscle. I have been eating fine with the low sodium stuff. For some reason I could barely stand up without my legs giving out. I felt like I did right after my 1st transplant and immobile. Of course this gave me more anxiety than usual - I almost had one of my panic attacks. I tried to stay up and mobile most of the day, but did have to lay down very early for the night. I didn't sleep well and kept getting up and eating and drinking several times. ***Thanks again for the prayers and support. ** Thanks to dad again for being here with me and taking care of the boys.

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4-27-08 -Today was uneventful for me. Now there was much more going on in the house. We woke up this morning was getting dressed for the day and all of the racks in our closet had fallen and EVERYTHING was in the floor, clothes, bags and the boxes we had on top. It was a mess. Since everything is on the floor already, it was the perfect time to clean out my old clothes and bag some up for charity. Donnie got everything out and went to Home Depot to get stronger hooks and got it back up** The A/C wouldn't cool, the microwave blew up a little earlier And our ice maker stopped working (2yr old house and appliances, 3rd ice maker replaced)! Any way the service people are coming out Tuesday.......&%!.?*)@. At least I felt good that day.

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4-26-08 - Well, I woke up this morning with dry heaves again. After a few minutes or so I felt fine. We stayed in this morning and my mom & dad came by to see how I was doing. After that we went to eat -low sodium of course. I cheated a little. I told Dr. Spivey that I would have to cheat at least once a week. Donnie brought me and the kids back to the house and then he went to get groceries. I had looked up some things with no or low sodium in them and put them on the list. I guess I'll see how they taste....*** When he got back we relaxed and played with the boys... nothing much today, but I did feel much better then yesterday! Thanks again for your prayers and support.  I left out a tiny note on the 4-21-08 update.  One of my  best friends from Thomasville & her husband were in Atlanta for a wedding and they made time to come by and see me! They stayed about 4hrs and we talked forever. I hope to see my other friends from my hometown soon.  Here is a picture of Jill & Charles.     

                   

4-25-08- Today was another story. I woke up with the dry heaves and was sick all morning. I feel very weak and have 0 appetite. I've been taking my med for my nausea but it's not in my system yet I guess. I weighed 92 lbs this morning and I felt like my legs would not hold me up today. We only had one thing to do today so that was good. Donnie's mom watched the boys while we went to our appointment. It was family fun night at Hunter's school so Donnie took the boys to that for a couple of hours. They got to eat, play games and had a sack-race. I, of course, stayed home because I couldn't stand that long at all today. I hope I feel much better tomorrow. I haven't felt like I did today in a long time. I'm back on my sodium restriction diet (no eating out). I'll be cooking rice, noodles, potatoes and who knows what else. It's a 2gram diet (2000 milligrams) but the doc said try not to even hit 2grams. I need to gain weight and now this makes it ever harder. ***Anyway, I pray for a much better day tomorrow - Donnie is off this weekend and I want to be able to go and do some things with him and the boys! SMILE! Don't worry about me, I'm fine! Thanks again to everyone who has sent cards, donations etc...etc....

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4-24-08 - Today was Carter's field trip to Carlton Farms at school. I couldn't go because I was so full and couldn't breathe. I had to be at Emory at 12n for labs and then the drain. Donnie was working and my dad had some appointments, so PawPaw (Donnie's dad) took him on the trip. He took pictures for me and Donnie. **My mom took me to Emory. The doctor drained 6.5 liters and it drained very fast this time- only took about 20-25min... my blood pressure didn't drop as much as it usually does. I asked him about a bump or bulge on my stomach and he said it was a hernia probably from the emergeny abdominal surgery after my 1st transplant. I have gotten a few more side effects and they are all related to my liver. So I'm stuck with them until I get a new one. My fingers, feet, thigh, you name it cramps up and stays stuck that way anywhere from a few seconds or a couple of minutes...again a liver problem. ** Anyway we got out of there earlier then we used to. We got out of the Atlanta traffic and headed back our way. I was sooo hungry. I ate so much I kinda made myself feel sick. We picked up a prescription for my sinus infection and got home. I took tylenol and went to bed for the night. It hurts the day of - my organs have to move back in place. The fluid pushes everything up to my chest. My liver and abdomen hurt for that day also. Thanks for your support and prayers. Please pray for the donor families also. Goodnight.

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4-23-08-Dad came over today and took the boys to school. I stayed in bed until we went to get Hunter. I rode with him and we drove thru McDonalds for their lunch. They played outside for a little bit and I took some more pictures***Today was the day I was very miserable because of the fluid and my severe back pain. I called Emory and will go get drained. I have to be there tomorrow the 24th at 12n for labs, whick takes about about 1hr to get labs. Yesterday (22nd) My dad came over and I was not feeling well. When I start getting very big from the fluid I get nauseous, but I've been taken my medication for that around the clock to keep it in my system now. Hopefully that will work. I stayed in bed and slept like a baby until Carter got home around noon. Me and dad sat and played with him for a while until time to get Hunter. ***I was very bloated and full with a sinus headach and back ache and plus, on top of all that, I dropped my phone in the toilet @*$!@# !!! I always keep it in my pants or shirt pocket incase Emory calls. How does that happen?.....still not really complaining even though it may sound that way. I'm just glad to be here. I can take the pain and the transplant. I just hate depending on other people like my mom, dad, Donnie, and his parents to help get everything done.***I'm going to bed very early to see if I can get some sleep. Thanks for everyone's support and prayers!

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4-21-08-Well, I haven't really lived up to my saying I would post everyday - sorry. ** When I got up Friday, my abdomen was not that full and still very soft, so I called to see if I should come in or not. She said yes and that she would look at me and see if it was worth draining yet or not. My dad came over and drove me to Emory - we were excited to actually get out early - another beautiful day to ride. When she saw me she said no - you look about 4-5 months pregnant (that's what we call it) and not 9 months like I usually do. She also didn't want to do it bacause if I'm not distended enough and my organs are still in place and have not been pushed up to my chest, it's too risky. She said they could actually hit an organ and cause more serious problems. They like to drain less frequently anyway so that was good. The more often they drain the more it could hurt my kidneys. Got all that? She said just call this week when I get to my fullest and then they will do it. I'm also on a low or no sodium diet to try and help even more.....yuck. No hot wings, alfredo sauce and the good stuff for me. ***Donnie had to work this weekend so my mom came over and helped with the laundry and hung out with me. Saturday I was very excited. One of my best friends from Thomasville and her husband were able to stop by for about 4hrs before they had to go to a wedding in Atlanta. We talked the whole time. I took pictures of her & her husband -I did NOT want to be in a picture, I'm to thin. Sunday my mom came over again. We went to ride - it was a beautiful day.**Donnie took the boys to school today (21st) and we relaxed and watched a movie. After the boys got home, they played outside and Donnie did some yard work. I got my camera back out and have starting taking more pictures again. I'm the picture fanatic. I love photography. I also have started on a scrapbook of the boys' soccer season and trying to start beading again. **Well that's enough for now--I'm going to sit outside in the shade and play with the boys. **Please continue to pray for Brandon (Karin's husband) and the donor family. Thanks!

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4-17-08 - Yesterday I actually felt pretty good. After the boys got out of school we went to ride and did some other things. It was such a nice day. Donnie picked up some straw and is going to try and find time to work in the yard.When we got home he played baseball in the yard with Carter (he's the sports guy). He can hit off the tee so good that Donnie is pitching to him now. Hunter just played and rode his scooter. I did too much I think. **Today I have been sick again and full of fluid. My hand tremors were very bad. It was just one of those bad days. Donnie's mother had invited us over for dinner. I told Donnie to go ahead and take the boys. They are going to spend the night so she can take them to school and back tomorrow. I will be at Emory for blood work and another drain. They used to be ok and I didn't hurt except a couple of hours afterward, but not now, other than the relief after the fluid is gone and I can breathe again, It hurts for about a day or two after now. But I love the two Doctors that do it. They are very personable and caring. Well gotta go he sounds like Donnie & the boys are home!!  I miss them even for a short while..... ****Thanks for the support and continued prayers***** God knows when that page should come!

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4-15-08 -  Today I got up and was very nauseous and sick feeling - getting fluid again and not eating much of anything today. My dad was over and took the boys to school and picked them up like he does when he's over. Thanks DAD! Yesterday (14th) after we took the boys to school my dad drove me around to do some errands. We had to go to the RX for my meds, bank, post office, things like that. Monday Dad was over again and he played with the boys and I stayed up and mobile. I actually separated ALL my hospital papers, ins. papers, I actually got everything in order and FILED it all.  I made a flex file for my paper work, labs, test results, discharge and operation summary seperated from Pittsburgh and one for Emory. I typed labels and everything. It's all nice and neat. I have to take ALL my records from Pitt & Emory back and forth. I was proud of myself....It took alot of time (while the boys were in school). I will probably be at Emory on Friday for another drain. They are actually a tad painful now and I hurt longer afterwards. I'm very tired and going to bed now. Thanks for all the support, prayers & donations. Also remember Brandon and the donor families!  Thanks.

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4-12-08- Hi, sorry about the updates. Wednesday my dad came over and took me and the boys out to a couple of places and then to eat. It was a very nice sunny day and I felt ok. He also came Thursday. I was very full of fluid so we played games and went outside with the boys. **Friday (11th) I went to get drained Paracentesis. My doctor removed 6.375 liters. I'm still very sore but also in areas other than my liver. I came home and had to take a pain pill it was so bad. I went to bed very early.****Today Donnie and I got some stuff done around the house and played with the boys. We took them out to ride and get ice cream. I'm still trying to eat way more than usual, but it's so hard when you feel full. I'm down to 94 lbs since he drained me. I'm working my hardest on staying mobile and gaining weight. Please pray I can put some weight on so I have some "reserve" when I go in for the transplant. ** I still pray for the donor family and Brandon's family. Thanks for all your support and prayers.

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4-8-08- Well I called my H/L doctor and told her about me being very sick and vomiting again since she doubled my Myfortic, so she said go back to the one dose for now and she would figure something else out. I've been much better yesterday and today and can tell it was definately the myfortic - One problem gone. It's seems my confusion is a tad better since I started another new med 2 weeks ago. Now for the forgetting things, not better at all. I still can't write because of the tremors. I've gotten immune to my anxiety med so they switched that and I will know in 1-2 weeks when it gets in my system if it's better. Donnie and I played with the boys and took them to get out of the house (spring break). Today has been the best I have felt and will feel until the transplant. We took the boys out again today and met our good friends Danny and Rachel.  Their little girl loves playing with Hunter & Carter. We did some errands - I even found a pair of Jr size jeans that don't fall off. I have no shirts to wear when my stomach is at is fulliest and I have maintained my weight but still have not gained and so as long as I don't  lose any more I'm ok for surgery.  My doc said to drink milk and eat ice cream or all the fatty products I can for my liver and weight.  Anyway - I had what I considered a great day. My fluid is returning and I usually go to Emory on Fridays to get drained.  Same routine every time - blood work then IV put in and Albumin is run while he does the drain to help protect my kidneys.  Well, I'm very exhausted after today so goodnight.

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4-6-08- Yesterday I felt miserable. Usually after I get drained, I feel better. This time I even hurt longer where the doctor went in with the needle. This time it continued all day including other places. Your organs move back into place once the fluid is gone. I was a little dizzy and my tremors were so bad I could hardly walk. The transplant doctors in Pitt doubled the myfortic and it has made me very sick and vomiting all the time like I used to. I will call them tomorrow and hopefully they will half it again.** My mom came over to help out. **Today I was still vomiting but other than that, I felt better today. I actually went out with mom and dad and ate and went to Target for some things we needed.

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4-4-08- Hi, just a quick update. I went yesterday to get drained, and Dr. Spivey got 5.2 liters off again. My dad had an appointment so my mom drove me to Emory. I asked about some side effects from my medicines.  We switched one and he was going to add another to help with my hand and leg tremors, :(   but he couldn't put me on it because my blood pressure is too low. He said unfortunalty I'm now in that vicious cycle with the side effects getting worse and my fluid returning earlier and earlier. He said he justs wants me to get the transplant sooner than later and all this will go away. So I'm very ready for that call. I was moved up on the list slightly because of my lab work yesterday. It could be a few weeks to 6 months...who knows. I can't have a man's liver or a large liver so if my blood type comes in and it's a small donor I would get called.  **Again I'm still trying to respond to everyone when I'm feeling good. Well that's all for now!   *See top for special note!

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4-1-08 -  I can't believe it's April. Hunter was full of April fool's jokes from school. **Anyway - my dad came over yesterday to help out with the boys. I still can't really drive by myself because part of the liver disease is forgetfulness and the confusion mainly.  I'm very full of fluid again so I will go get tapped (drained) tomorrow or Thursday for sure.  My tremors have gotten much worse and I can't write at ALL. I'm having to use one finger to even type this. The meds they gave me for this last time are either are not working or haven't gotten in my system yet. I sure do have the side effects already. This has been the MOST frustrating thing.***     Anyway, the  good news is Pitt called today and I have NO REJECTION or INFECTIONS. My pulmonologist said she feels I'm OK for the transplant.  Yeah! Thanks for your prayers, they are still and will always work

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3-30-08 - We are home from Pitt.(Friday). We got in around 12:30p and spent the day with the boys. My dad picked us up at the airport. I talked to Dr. Crespo and she agreed with the few med changes the liver/kidney transplant team did. We will not have the results from the bronc/biopsy until later this week. She said I was good to go when they do call for the transplant. I just can't get sick, sore throat or any kind of infection or they will skip me until I'm well. I have to get a pager, it's mandatory at Emory. They do not rely on cell phones. Yesterday we went out while I felt good and I have been eating much better now. My mom and dad dropped by to see me Saturday. I didn't see my mom for a week. ***Sorry for the late thank you's. My hands are trembling so bad I can't write at all. Donnie is having to draw my shots so I don't poke myself. He's really helping me out.***Thanks for all your prayers and support. I can't possibly thank all of you enough.

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3-27-08 - Hi everyone! I was at the hospital at 7a for my 9a bronc/biopsy. Everything went well with the anesthesia and I woke up without the tube! Dr. Crespo came in and told me the chest CT was ok - no pneumonia-Thank God. It was just a little fluid left over from my drain on Monday.... I was in recovery for about 1 hr and then down to the PACU unit were Donnie could come back and we waited for about another hour. They check vital signs every 15 min or so. I was then able to drink. You can go if your oxygen stats are ok, blood pressure ok and until you can urinate....it's true. Then you wait for the discharge papers and they take your IV out....Freedom. We got back to the room around 1:30p. We talked to all our family at home and then the boys! We miss them but told them we would be back tomorrow.**** I'm still loopy from being put under so I'm going to rest. Thanks again for all your posts, cards, and prayers. Please keep Brandon (Karin's husband) and her family in your prayers.

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3-26-08 - Well, we arrived last night in Pittsburgh after over an hour delay in Atlanta. We waited at the gate for a few minutes for some "paper work". We finally were allowed to pull away from the gate - we got to the tarmac where other planes were going and coming and then the Captain came on and said the right engine didn't want to start....what? The flight attendant said well at least this happened now and not in the air -HA HA. Was not funny AT ALL. They called maintenance...waited for them and they worked for a while, flipped some switches and reset the computer is what they said.  Anyway, we did finally take off. I would have rather changed to a different plane. I just prayed...****We had to be at the hospital at 9:30a. I had blood work, chest x-ray, and see my pulmonologist. She said my PFT's were good - so was my blood work. She saw my chest x-ray and saw a tiny area that she said was possible fluid. She then sent me to have a chest CT for a closer look to make sure it wasn't pneumonia, just double checking. We were done for the day around 2:30. Wednesday is usually the night we go out. We ate at the Cheesecake Factory because I have an appetite right now with no fluid. We went to our usual book store and then back to the hotel. It was SUNNY here today. It's always raining or snowing every time we've come to Pitt. It was a nice day - I wasn't even cold. I will have my bronc/biopsy tomorrow morning and then come back to the hotel and rest the entire day. I can't fly the same day I have been put under, so that's why we can't fly home 'til Friday. **I talk to mom, dad, and the boys every day. We miss them very much. Thanks for all the posts and prayers - I personally read and post each one. **** Oh I almost forgot! Emory called this morning on my cell and everything is a go. I am now ACTIVE & READY on the liver/kidney TRANSPLANT list. They said the liver surgery is around 11-12hr surgery and the kidney would be an hour or so. Here comes the wait............I never ever thought I would have to go thru another TRANSPLANT ---All I can say is bring it on****

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3-24-08 - We had a good Easter weekend, I was full of fluid but I didn't think about it. I just enjoyed being home with my family. We colored eggs and the boys decorated them. Of course Hunter had a Star Wars kit and Carter had a Spongebob kit. They had a good time. Saturday, Mom and I got out of the house and got a few things we needed. ** Easter Sunday my brother, wife and little one Jayden came over and played with the boys. **Donnie had to work until 6pm so Donnie's dad came to get me and the boys. Donnie was to come over straight from work. I was very tired and very very full of fluid and was not up to going. I don't have an appetite when I'm that full anyway. I just rested and got some stress relief - It was so quiet at the house. I missed the boys for just those 2 hrs but I felt much better with the rest.**Today my mom took me to Emory to get drained before we have to fly to Pittsburgh tomorrow.  The doctor said she's glad I waited until today because the pressure changes on the plane would have not been good for me with all the fluid on board. **The doctor got 6.2 liters off. I can eat after I'm drained so we went by the good ole Varsity. **We leave around 3pm tomorrow for Pitt. My parents will watch the dog and the in-laws will keep the boys. I will have my computer and  I will TRY to email some of you that have posted. Thanks again for you prayers and thoughts.....Goodnight!

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3-21-08 - Hello again. I was going to Emory today to get drained. I'm not as full at the end of this week, so I called and changed the appt. to Monday (24th). I am very full, but not as bad as it usually gets. Another reason I changed the appt. was because I wanted to be drained right before our flight on Tuesday so I wouldn't be miserable on the plane and while in Pittsburgh. I'm trying to stay up all day without laying down and staying active so I don't lose the tiny bit of muscle and strength I do have. I'm trying to lift more and walk more so I have some "reserve" before going in for a transplant.***We are going to color Easter eggs tomorrow. We will have an Easter egg hunt with my nephew and niece this weekend. I hope everyone has a great Easter. Thanks for all the cards, prayers and support. I love reading my guest book. Please still pray for Brandon (Karin's husband) and her family. 

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3-19-08 - Well hello finally. Sorry about the updates. The day I went home from Emory (3-8) I still had plenty of fluid. They could only drain about 2.8 liters and it gave me no relief. I have oxygen at home again just to sleep with when I have so much fluid. I had an ok week of (3-9). Donnie's mother kept the boys Thursday night because I had an appt. at Emory to get ALL my fluid drained. Carter ended up staying with us. He thinks every time mommy goes to the doctor that they are going to keep me, and they usually do. He did fine at the hospital and was glad I was able to come home. Dr. Spivey took 6.6 liters off this time. That is the most he has drained from me at one time. It was immediate relief! My side hurts for the day after the procedure but is gone by the end of the day. He said he felt I was ready to get on the list for the liver and kidney. They are waiting on one final paper from insurance to make it official. I should be listed this week for sure. **Here comes the waiting again. I asked him about my trip to Pittsburgh next week and he said to still make the trip and have them do the bronc/biopsy to make sure everything is in order before my next transplant. We will be leaving next Tuesday and try to come back Friday. Pray everything is ok with my lungs and I have no fluid in my lungs. We will talk about my transplant at Emory also.** My dad saw me after  I was drained and could tell a big difference in the way I looked and felt. I felt soooo good. I had a great weekend. We took the boys out and did some running around. We went to my sister-in-laws for Donnie's mom's birthday dinner.  I was able to eat because I wasn't full of fluid. We stopped at the park and let the boys play for a while. ***Now today is a different story - the fluid is returning and I already have an appt. for Friday to be drained again.  I will have to be drained once a week until I get called for now unless something changes. If my kidneys get worse they move me up on the list. ** They added two meds, one is 3 pills 3 times a day and the other is a shot that burns when I do them. They are 3 times a day also in my stomach. I also am still doing the arenesp shot once a week...yuck. I'm sick of shots and I draw them up and do them myself. They new ones make my face tingle and itch for a while afterward but I can handle that.** We are taking the boys for their Easter pictures later today and having dinner at the in-laws. I will not be able to eat much because of my fullness...The doctors say as long as I am walking and staying mobile, I can have the surgery. Just pray I don't get sick with a cold, flu or anything or I couldn't go in when they call.**Thanks to everyone for their thoughts, prayers and donations. I will respond to you. My hands are so shaky right now I can't even write any cards. I may be able to type notes and put them in the thank you cards.  I will try to do my daily updates again and not wait so long in between posts. Well, I have two little boys who want my attention now......Love to dad who comes over everyday while Donnie works to help me out and take the boys to school. Mom comes over the weekends that Donnie has to work - Thanks for your continued support. And thanks to Donnie who is always there and is a great husband!

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3-8-08 - Well, I have to say today and yesterday (Friday) have been the most miserable of all. It all started with a mammogram at 7:30am. They were checking some places on my transplant scar tissue to make sure it wasn't cancer. As soon as they finished I was vomiting again and they were yelling - get her outta here she's sick. I waited almost 1 hr for transport to come take me back to my room. I thought that was going to be the worst but it was just starting.  I was still sick and they came to draw blood. She grabbed my hand to get blood WHILE I was vomiting  I said "do you mind if I stop vomiting first?  I mean come on now....  I had so much fluid at this point they decided to drain about 3 liters to make me more comfortable. Well, that didn't go as planned either. The doc was only able to get 800ml. Not even a liter. He said he would try again tomorrow. They tried again today and slowly got 2.8 liters and it was painful this time. All the docs came by and said I could go home and come back Friday for another drain and follow up. I have follow-ups the next 2 weeks. Meanwhile they said I had to be completely rid of the flu, gain near 20lbs so I will be able to have the surgery. I'm approved and ready to go when they are satisfied with my health status. ** We got home around 6pm.

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03-06-08  It's me... today I am scheduled for an MRI w/contrast to look at the vessels around my kidneys and liver. It's about a 30 min test in a very very small machine. I had oxygen but it was still hard to breathe. They give you headphones to wear to listen to music and they tell you when to hold your breath. It was very hard to hold my breath that long. I have been nauseous about every morning. I couldn't keep my meds down either.  They have stopped two of my meds and started me on 1 more and the other is a shot. It's three times a day (on top of the one I already do every weekend). They come in around 4:30a or so to weigh me, I refused several times. They come to draw blood everyday by 7:30a. I've been poked in every vein and my veins are so small they roll or blow too easy. I was so dry when I got to the hospital, they couldn't even get enough blood to fill a tube. My IV is supposed to be changed every 4 days so it doesn't get infected but he doctor approved to let it stay because there was just NOwhere to find another vein. ***Thanks to dad, who stays with me during the day- to my mom and Donnie who take turns spending the night in an awful chair/bed***  I also had visits from Danny & Rachel, my cousin Katy and my wonderful aunt Helen.  I also met the mother of a girl that cheers with my sister-in-law who has had 2 liver transplants.  Thanks for all the support and prayers.

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03-03-08 - Donnie again. Karen is of course still in Emory. The fluid continues to build and today they removed 3 litres from her abdomen. They probably could have removed twice that amount but they did not want to completely dry her out. Her creatnine level is somewhat better. It is down to around 3 but she still needs to produce more urine. She was extremely miserable before the tap and is now only slightly miserable. She was due to have a colonoscopy today but it was put on hold until tomorrow. The kidney transplant team came in today and evaluated Karen for a transplant. Right now the thinking is she will more than likely be recommended for a liver and kidney transplant. As we were talking to kidney docs we got some fairly shocking news and something we have not heard up to now. If and when she is listed and active for a liver and kidney she would more than likely be put to the top of the list and that could mean transplant within 24-48 hours of being listed. This of course being based on the availability of a donor. From what we hear this area is quick to receive organs. There is a chance that she could be listed as early as this weekend and transplanted within the above mentioned time frame. Yeah I know - WOW!! Talk about a shocker when we heard this. Karen understandably got a little emotional when she heard this but she knows that all will be well. Keep in mind that throughout the course of the last couple of days we have been given various plans . They are also talking about dialysis by the end of the week if her kidneys do not completely recover. The TIPS procedure is also still a possibility but the docs says that's a big risk also. Needless to say she is going to be here for a while longer. She is weak and still needs your prayers. She has her computer here at Emory and they have Wi-Fi access. She enjoys reading your posts and words of encouragment.

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2-29-08 - Today Donnie is giving a quick update. Day before yesterday Karen was not feeling well at all and went to her new Emory based primary care doc. She ran some labs and told Karen she appeared to be getting dehydrated and she wanted Karen to dring plenty of fluids or she would wind up in the hospital. Yesterday her primary care doc called her back and gave her some distressing news on the lab results. She said Karen's kidneys are not functioning well at all. Her creatnine level was 4.2. Waaaayyy above where it should be. It should not be over 2 at the most. It had been hovering between 1.6 and 1.8ish. Her clearance rate on her kidneys was at 14. For a woman her age it should be between 100 and 120. So this tells them her kidneys are under extreme duress. Needless to say we came to Emory yesterday afternoon. Her mom and dad met us there. We came in through the ER where they started IV fluid for the dehydration and ran several more labs. Her blood pressure was also pretty low and caused some concern for a brief time. At it's lowest it dropped to 67/42. One she got up to her room it was back up to her normal level with the assistance of the fluid. This morning she is resting after not getting any sleep last night. She is on the cardiac floor at Emory where she always is and is awaiting visits from a host of docs. Cardiac, liver, renal and so on. If there is anything of importance I will post again but hopefully the next post will be from Karen.     My mom and dad were heading up to their lakehouse this weekend and offered to take the kids with them so we could be with Karen and the kids still have a nice weekend.  Please remember Karen in your prayers as she faces these new unexpected hurdles.

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2-22-08 - I don't even know where to start. I’ve had even more anxiety than ever this week. It's been emotional and depressing (see below). I had the liver transplant evaluation on Mon. & Tues of last week (Feb. 11 & 12). My "support" team came Tuesday. The doctors have to make sure you have enough support to get you through a transplant. Of course I do, remember last year? HaHa They did an MRI with contrast and actually saw that my kidney is failing worse than my liver, so I will be having a liver and 1 kidney transplant now. I've been approved for the liver by the committee and know I have to see the kidney team. Once approved for both, my liver Dr. said within two weeks of that they will do the "TIPS". They hope that will be a bridge and put off the transplant. My liver Dr. also took off around 4.2 liters Tuesday. Last Friday (Feb. 15), Donnie took me out to eat and Saturday we went to Ashford-Dunwoody to have my charms put on my bracelet. I felt good that day with all the fluid gone. It's been returning in less than 2 weeks. * This past Monday, I felt great and took the boys to eat and play by myself! They were out of school all week. * We had our taxes done, ran some errands and had 1 day without seeing a doctor or getting blood drawn! Yesterday, I finally met the Pulmonologist at Emory and they read my entire background and agreed to take me in - in case of an emergency in Atlanta when I cannot get to Pittsburgh. Dr. Spivey (liver specialist) took 5 liters off while there. It was a 10 lb difference. My dad came by today to play with the boys so I could rest.

***** On a very sad note - My dear friend Karin Bordner passed away on Monday the 18th surrounded by her family. I felt like I lost a sister. Please remember her and her family in your thoughts and prayers. She was a very strong woman. She was in the hospital for almost a year. Below is what was on her website and her obituary. If you get a chance - try to post a note to the family******* I will miss her greatly. Please click on her link. Karin Bordner.

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2-10-08 - Hi everyone. Nothing really new going on. My little one has the flu (even though he had the flu shot) and I've had to try and stay away and wash my hands even more. He's a mama's boy and it's been hard. He's almost over it! ** I have gotten ALL my fluid in my abdomen back already. The doctor wanted it to at least stay away 1 month, but it looks like it comes back in just 2 weeks. I guess they will do another Paracentesisthis week at Emory. I'm hoping I can have it done while I'm there for my liver transplant evaluation and some tests. I will be there most of Monday and 5-6 hrs on Tuesday. Pray they come up with a solution for the "TIPS" procedure and I am not looking at a transplant for a few years at least.**Also please pray and remember my friend Karin in Pittsburgh who is now out of CTICU and on the transplant floor. Please pray for her to go home soon.

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2-5-08 - Well, I've been able to get out a little bit because the fluid is gone and I can breathe again now. I do still get plenty of rest with the help of my husband, dad and mom.  I don't really sleep it seems anymore at night. I can take a short nap here and there but I still always feel tired. I have found a new PCP (primary care dr) that is affiliated with Emory. I've always seen specialists because I was born with the heart defect. We had a PPO plan and never required referrals, but as everyone knows, we maxed out our lifetime cap with the heart/dbl lung transplant. We were then moved down to the HMO and I have to have a referral for EVERYTHING now. I have never really been to a Family Medical Doctor. The doctors have always said I was the exception to everyone else. Is that good or bad?  Anyway I'm going to meet her tomorrow and she already has all my history because she is part of the Emory clinic. We will talk and she said she would then do my referrals!   YIPEE - because I have plenty of Doctor appointments in this next month.  They have me scheduled for Feb. 11th and 12th I believe for my transplant evaluation.  Remember this is the back up plan in case the "TIPS" only works for a short time. I would then already be listed and getting time on the liver list.  I know I will have an MRI and some blood work. The next day I will meet the entire team of transplant surgeons. Then I think they discuss my case and within a couple of weeks will know if they will accept me. I believe the only way they wouldn't is if I was considered "high risk" like my other transplant. If that happens the surgeons in Pittsburgh would have to get certain approval for me to have another transplant out of state (network) since we have an HMO plan now. Hopefully I will not have to worry about another transplant for several years. Please pray the tapping of fluid and the TIPS works for a long time.....I DO NOT want to have to relocate to Pittsburgh again!

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1-30-08 -  I actually have some good news.  My liver Doctors from Pittsburgh and here at Emory actually saw each other at a conference this past week and spoke about my case face to face.  They both agree on the same course for me.  I went to Emory today to see Dr. Spivey and talked with him.  The nurse drew blood and started an IV - which I didn't know I had to have. They said in was in case by blood pressure suddenly dropped while draining the fluid. I also had to have it to run protein in to help protect my kidneys. My creatnine level was 2.1 - normal is around 1, so it was very high. Dr. Spivey did the paracentesis himself. He removed 5 LITERS of fluid from my abdomen. I could tell a HUGE difference immediately. I didn't even have to change into the hospital gown. He numbed the area very well.  Then he stuck a huge needle thru my belly and starting draining. I guess it took around 30 minutes or longer. I weighed 116 1bs before the procedure and after I am now 105 1bs -now that's a lot of fluid.**The plan now is to see how fast it all comes back. If it gets that bad again they will do the same procedure to get rid of it. ***In the meantime within the month of February I will be worked up for an evaluation and tested for a liver transplant.  They are still going to do the 'TIPS' procedure and like he said, it may work well and hold me anywhere from a year to 4-5 years. The one risk with this is sometimes it can cause your liver to get worse quicker - so that's why they want me evaluated and ready to list IF this does happen.  He said my liver is actually functioning ok and working right now but can get worse quick. The problem is the high pressures (portal hypertension) *****So in the long run he said I will have to get a new liver at some point.  *Please pray the tapping and TIPS procedures will work as long as they can.  I don't like the word TRANSPLANT right now.  I've just gotten past my 1st anniversary from my transplant last year. Everything will work out. I didn't go thru 2 surgeries at age 2 and 4, stents and numerous heart caths - an emergengery c-section and a heart/double lung transplant for nothing.  I'm here to do something - whether it's to raise my boys or simply talk to others that are going thru a transplant. Everyone should pray and thank God for every day they have --Live Life! Thanks to my wonderful husband who is always by my side. Same for my mom and dad, they are always with me and help me out with the kids like my in-laws also do.  I appreciate everything!

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1-28-08 - Hi - Sorry I didn't post anything while in Pittsburgh. I saw the liver specialist and we had a pretty long consultation with him. He ordered more bloodwork and more tests.  He is exploring all symptoms. I had an endoscopy to check for engorged veins in the esophagus (esophageal varices). They did find 3-4 small veins in my esophagus, but not very big yet and not bleeding.  He also ordered fluid drained and tested.  They only drained enough to test.  If they take off too much it could cause kidney problems.  I do know I didn't have ammonia in my system which is good.  All the lab results are not back yet. He will call this week when he gets the rest in.  He did get the actual slides and pictures from Emory where they did the liver biopsy, ct scan, chest x-ray and so on.  He mentioned I did have portal hypertention and some cirrhosis but not how much. They have not yet decided if it is all cirhotic (beginning of liver failure or not). So right now the commitee will meet and decide if I should go ahead and have a liver transplant evaluation or not.  The"TIPS" procedure could hold me over for a transplant at a later date, hopefully years later. I don't really want to hear the word TRANSPLANT again any time soon. I am scheduled to go in at Emory and see Dr.Spivey (liver specialist) this Wednesday to have more bloodwork and a Paracentesis to see how much fluid he can drain and get me comfortable again for now. They also want a Color Doppler of my liver, a standard ultrasound method to produce a picture of a blood vessel. In addition, a computer converts the doppler sounds into colors that are overlaid on the image of the blood vessel and that represent the speed and direction of blood flow through the vessels .  ****So for now, we just wait on results and then they will decide.  Again, I'm sorry about not posting earlier, but I have so much fluid right now, my liver is enlarged and has sharp pains, and my lower back pain is back. I've been resting a lot.  I'm short of breath a little and can't really sleep on either side because of the fluid. ****Anyway - I did get a chance to stop by and see Karin who is still in the hospital and she looked great. She's been walking again and gaining strength.  I talked for a little bit and she mouthed words because she didn't have a speaking valve in. I couldn't stay very long this time because I was still tired from the sedation I had received earlier for the endoscopy and in pain. Please pray the doctors say I'm not in liver failure yet and that there is something they can do to slow it down.  As far as my heart and lungs, the doctors at Emory say my heart and lungs are beautiful!!!!!

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1-21-08- Well, I didn't have much notice, but Donnie and I are leaving for Pittsburgh tomorrow afternoon. The liver specialist wants to see me sooner. My diuretics are not working and my stomach is still huge (ascites)--my liver actually hurts now. The liver specialist in Pittsburgh will evaluate me on Wednesday and decide what he will do. My liver specialist at Emory said he would do the "TIPS" procedure.  http:// www.merck.com/mmhe/sec10/ch135/ch135d.html.  My transplant surgeon and doctors want to look for themselves and decide. They like to keep all their transplant patients close by and under their care also. They said whatever procedure they do, they will do it while I'm up there. We plan on maybe being back on Saturday but who knows. Some say the "TIPS" procedure is outpatient or a 1 night stay??? I'm clueless. I'll keep it posted on my page. We still have to go back on March 26th or so for my normal bronc/biopsy.  They can't do both procedures at once. So we will be flying back and forth more than we thought this year. If anyone has any fundraiser ideas, please contact Donnie at arrowoodk@bellsouth.net or my mom (Dora) at dpoulk@dhr.ga.gov.   Our fund is getting very low and we still have this year for traveling and then the cost of my meds!  **Thanks to everyone who has given a donation or prayer of support.  Thanks to Rhonda and her church, Thelma, Judy, and Jeannie at my mom's office. I hope I'm not forgetting anyone who has given recently. ** Please pray the snow is not too bad up there. **I will visit my friend Karin while there of course. Please pray for both "k's".  Goodnight !

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1-13-08 - Hello everyone. Sorry I haven't written in over a week. The boys of course being out of school -  we've just been spending all our time with them. Donnie, me and the boys spent my actual anniversary together all day. We went to have dinner and took the boys to the movies (Alvin & the Chipmunks). Mom & dad took us out the next day for my anniversary. Sunday we went to my  nephew's birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. The boys had a blast. I walked around a little but the fluid in my belly was bad that day and I was short of breath. I did more than I usually do in that short of time. I'm not as comfortable lying down flat now. It's supposed to be gone after I see the liver specialist in Pitt. I don't know which procedure they are wanting to do, meanwhile I look huge.  I have been asked when I was due (baby) more than 5 times in the past week. The doctor in Pittsburg wants me to see him also for a second opinion. It needs to be soon because I'm miserable with all the fluid and enlarged liver.**The boys went back to school on Monday and I got my weekly bloodwork done that morning. My prograf was a little high so they knocked down the dose again for now.** My dad came over two days this week to help out. I took my diuretics and stayed in bed most of the time to see if I could get rid of some fluid.....not working. Saturday my mom and I went out and picked up tickets up for Donnie and the boys. They like the Monster trucks, so the 3 of them went to the Dome to the Monster Truck Jam. Today the in-laws took them to the Braves Fan Fest. They hope to meet some of the players and maybe get some pictures. **So - I am at home with no noise ! I miss them of course but they left around 9a this morning and will be home around 7p.  I can get lots of rest today.

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1-3-08 - Happy New Year to everyone! This past  Weekend my mom and dad came by to visit. My mom came over Sunday and helped my out with the house.  Monday, New Years Eve the boys spent the night with the in-laws. Donnie and I went to eat and to the movies. I have not been to one in so long. We stayed in Wednesday and played. Today I wanted to get out and ride, so me and the boys grabbed some lunch and then got milkshakes. My coordinator in Pitt called and said they wanted to see me Feb 25 and get a second opinion about my liver. They had said prior to this that they could do my bronc/biopsy at that time so we would not have to come back in March for my regular bronc/biopsy. When they called today they said no - they could not do my March stuff in Feb. The procedures have to be done seperatly......so, we'll see. My friend Karin got moved out of CTICU New Years day but I'm sad to say she was sent back down today. They say her heart rate keeps going up and she needed to be watched closer. *Please pray for her, she's been there for 10 months or more. Beleive it or not this exact time last year I had been called to come to the hospital for my transplant.  We were all waiting for me to go to surgery which was about 4-6am. So tomorrow will be my 1st anniversary for my transplant. Time has flown by. I thank God everyday for my second chance to raise my boys. We also are praying for the donors family.  Have a good night!

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12-29-07 - Hi. I hope everyone had a great Christmas. Donnie actually got the day off. The boys had a great time all day. My family came over late morning and we did Christmas with them. Donnie's parents also came by later.  We did Christmas with his family on Christmas Eve. We loved being able to stay home this year and not run the kids around everywhere. We also stayed home the next day. We enjoyed this week just relaxing at home. ** I got my bloodwork done around Thursday and everything was ok with my creatinine so I will stay on my diurectics for now. My stomach has gone down some but not alot. We are still waiting to see when they want to stent my liver.  Meanwhile my doctor wants me to see and get to know the pulmonologist at Emory for any emergencies. In between all this I still have to go to the ENT to check my vocal cord and see what's up with my sinus infection. I have to go to the dentist (weird). I also have to see my gyn and get a mammagram to make sure the lumps are scar tissue from the transplant and not anything else like cancer. They say transplant patients can get cancer more easy than others because of the meds I have to take.  I'm sure some of you just had to hear this....Ha Ha****Anyway, Me and the boys hung out with my mom and dad today. I will probably rest tomorrow, Donnie has to work. ** I've added some new pictures to the picture page** I couldn't get them on tonight, I'll try again tomorrow.

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12-23-07 - Good news - I heard back from Pitt and there is No rejection or infection in my lungs! They did tell me to start back on the myfortic (rejection med) just because I should be on two rejection meds other than my steriod. **As far as my liver goes - They are going to try the old diurectics and see if I can get rid of some of the fluid in my belly.  I have to get bloodwork tomorrow so they can check my creatinine or kidney numbers. My level cannot go above 2 or it could worsen my kidney function. My transplant doctors in Pitt are talking with my Emory doctors to decide who will eventually to the "TIPS" procedure. Long story short - if the diurectics work without harming my kidneys, I may go to Pitt around Feb 25th. If they don't work, I might have the procedure in January at Emory here in Atlanta under the liver/transplant specialist. Got all that?*********Anyway I have been feeling fine except for a sinus infection.  The boys have ear infections but are feeling much better now. Hunter had a blast at his birthday party Saturday!  It was an all Transformers Party. I rested the rest of the day. My friend Karin is still is CTICU - please continue to pray for her and her family. * I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas! I know I will. I still pray and thank God everyday for my second chance at life. Please enjoy life to the fullest!

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12-18-07 - Hi again. Well, after two days of tests and Dr. visits at Emory, all is good news about the heart and lungs. I saw Dr. Book, my cardiologist, Monday for a right heart cath and heart biopsy. Good news is no high pulmonary pressures in my heart like they might have thought. She said my heart was "beautiful" and my pressures were as normal as anyone elses. She checked my liver pressures also during the procedure. I seem to have high pressures in the liver. They called me today said there was and NO heart rejection or infection!! However, she did get me an appointment with the liver specialist on Tuesday because the fluid in my belly is from my liver. I have scar tissue and damage to my liver from all the years I was sick and in heart failure. So - I went to the liver doc yesterday, and he explained everything very clearly to me and my dad. I have what is called "portal hypertention" in my liver. They can do 1 of 2 things.... "tapping" or "TIPS". Tapping is tapping into my liver and draining the fluid every month or so - which would get very old. I think they are going to go with "TIPS".

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12-14-07- Hello.  Donnie and I are at the airport waiting to come HOME. My lungs "looked good" but no results yet.  The big thing is that I have been having swelling in my belly like I used to when I was sick before my transplant.  The doctor ran bloodwork and then wanted a CT scan of my belly, liver and pelvis.  She said I did have some fluid in my stomach and that it might be from my liver.  My liver is swollen and show signs of cirrhosis of the liver. She said I could go home but have to be at Emory in Atlanta first thing Monday morning for a right heart cath, possible liver biopsy and a heart biopsy. She actually mentioned that I might have some slight elevated pressures in my pulmonary valve like before my transplant.  But this time it would be secondary maybe from my liver or heart rejection.  So - long story short that will all be done Monday.  They say "outpatient" but that never happens so we will see if I have to stay.  I told them Hunter's birthday party was Saturday the 22nd.  Hopefully, I can just take oral meds if it is any rejection in the heart......Please pray for good news.  I wasn't able to have Christmas at home last year.  I want to be home this year. Thanks to everyone for their prayers and support.

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12-10-07 - Hi! Well, this week seemed to be good. I did everything by myself. By the end of the week I was getting tired, but I did it! The boys are no longer sick and my cold and sore throat seemed to pass (I hope). We will see after the tests in Pittsburgh this week. We've had a busy week and weekend trying to get Christmas shopping done and Hunter's birthday party planned before leaving. We went to the Stone Mtn. Christmas this weekend with Donnie's family. Of course my train loving boy had to see the Polar Express in 4-D.  They loved it! They saw Santa this week at the mall and again in the parade at Stone Mtn. I've done so much that my dad came over today to let me rest. He took the boys to school and picked them up. He helped alot today. Well I have to get packing for the very very cold temps in Pitt.  We leave tomorrow and plan to be back Friday. **Please pray for the other Karin as she is STILL in the hospital. Her birthday is the 14th of December and I'm going to visit and take her a birthday present. She seems to be really down. If you have time please visit her site www.karinsnewheart.org and send her a birthday message - say you know me! ** She would LOVE it!  Thanks.

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11-28-07 - Well, so far so good this week. I feel much better than last week.  I have actually gotten up and been able to take the boys to school at their different times!!!  This Monday was the first day. I feel like a new person being able to be on my on some. I still can't lift certain things and can't lift Carter in a buggy yet but the strength will still take some time. I had my blood drawn yesterday but haven't heard the results yet. ****My dad came by today. We went out to lunch with him. It feels funny not having anyone with me 24/7 ---- but nice.  I have been sooooo blessed at this second chance. Please pray for the donor family and my friend Karin.  She is still in the hospital.  The boys still ask every morning - "Mommy who's comming over today to take us to school"  They love me being able to do it again by myself! I love it.......I hope I stay well and keep getting strength.

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11-25-07 -  It's been a busy week. The boys  have been sick the whole week. Hunter actually got sent home from school the Thursday before that for his coughing. We took them to the doctor twice. Carter has a really bad ear infecton. They are both having to do breathing treatments. I've tried not to touch them and wash my hands constantly trying to stay well. I had been feeling great until about 4 days ago. I have alot of congestion and coughing now. I hope nothing goes to my lungs. I'm so immunosupressed that I could get pnemonia very easy. I called my doctor in Pitt late Friday and I have to have my blood drawn tomorrow and check some levels and see if I need a chest x-ray. I don't want to wait. I go to Pittsburgh on the 11th of December. I don't want to get up there and they find an infection or anything. If that was the case, I might have to stay for IV meds. I don't want that to happen and push getting back for Hunter's birthday or Christmas.**The boys spent the night with Donnie's parents this weekend and we actually got all their shopping done!!!! I don't want to go back and forth -- I'm done. We stayed home Friday after Thanksgiving and put our Christmas decorations and tree up. The boys loved helping putting the ornaments on the tree!****** My friend Rach and I went to the Police concert last Saturday night. Donnie had to work and it was my birthday. Donnie took me out the weekend before. It felt great to get out like that.  The last time I went to Phillips Arena, I was on oxygen 24/7 and could barely cross the street without stopping to rest 3 times. It was a 150% difference this past Saturday. I walked across the street and climbed stairs like it was nothing. I've been very blessed! It was great! I rested today, the boys go back to school tomorrow and I will be doing everything myself - even driving. Donnie has training all week with no off days during the week. We will see how it goes by myself.........

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11-11-07 -  Well not much going on. I had my usual bloodwork and everything was fine. The boys went trick or treating, they didn't last as long as we thought. They were very tired.**I'm still doing my aranesp (shot) weekly and my red blood count and  platelets       looked good on my last bloodwork. I have been feeling great except for my back pain. I still get the shakes really bad about  days a week - we can't figure out why on certain days????  I finally got the weights and a swing-glider to build my muscles back. I'm still very weak in my legs and arms.**The boys had their last game and then had a party and they all got trophies and medals!************My friend Karin who is still in the hospital in Pitt needs everyones prayers. She has the CMV infection I had plus a little pnemonia. They also did a biopsy/bronc and found a little rejection again. She was in rehab with the next step going home.  She is now back on the vent and in CTICU. Please, Please pray for her and her family.

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10-28-07 - Not much new to tell. We finally got Hunter his flu shot. Donnie is the only one left now. Everyone of course in around me has to have the shot. I could get very sick if anyone around me got the flu- remember my immune system is suppressed. I'm still getting blookwork every week and doing a shot once a week. My back pain has come back like it was in the hospital. The lower and in between my shoulder blades where I laid in the bed so long. I will ask about that next time I talk to my transplant coordinator. **The rest of the past days we all got hair cuts and took the dog to the vet to have her nails clipped - Fun Fun. The boys also had a game Saturday. Carter with two goals and Hunter one!

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10-22-07 - We've had a busy week. I got bloodwork done Tuesday - everything was fine. My dad was over every day helping me. Donnie and I met with Hunter's teacher for his report card. He did great with all academic except some getting up in the lunchroom. She said he was a very smart and one of the more advanced in his class. Donnie had to go to a training class on his off day - no fun. Donnie's mom wanted to watch the boys Friday.  That gave me a chance to finally meet my friend Rach for lunch. **The boys had a soccer game on Saturday. Hunter & Carter each scored a goal! I actually have felt very good lately. I also drove this past week some. My legs are still shakey and my concentration is better. We took it easy today - Donnie was off. Well I guess I'll go.....Here are a couple of picks of the boys playing soccer..

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10-15-07 - Good News!  I got the results back from my biopsy - NO infection, No rejection and no cmv infection. I'm feeling good as of now. **We took Carter to the doctor today. He has an ear infection and bad cough. He also got his flu shot and didn't even cry. They need to stay well because of my immune system. I got my flu shot in Pitt.  My dad came over to help me today. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.

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10-14-07 - Hi - We are back from Pittsburgh. We got back Friday and I've been resting this weekend. Wednesday the 10th I had my PFT'S done, bloodwork and chest x-ray. After all that we went to visit Karin. She looked great. They want to send her to rehab soon and then home. We went out to eat and walked around this place called Southside Works. Wednesday is usually the only time we go out from the hotel. Thursday was my bronc/biopsy at 9:00 am. We were out of there around 1pm. That's the day we stay in and rest. I have to let the anesthesia wear off. I was also sore from my flu shot and aranesp shot (for red blood cells) We ordered pizza and stayed in. My Doctor changed one of my meds and added another. My platelets were low, so I now have to do a shot once a week. I'm still weak so she told me to start walking every day for atleast 20 min to gain more strength. We should have the biopsy results eary next week. *** I was able to go to the boys soccer game. They each scored a goal !!!.

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10-8-07 - I'm finally on the computer again. I'm sorry I haven't posted until now but I felt bad a few days and then my computer was down. I feel much better now. I'm still having to build my strength in my arms and legs. I was able to go to my boys soccer game Saturday. Hunter and Carter each scored a goal. My dad has been a great help like my mom. He comes over every morning and takes the boys to school. I hope I can get back to doing it myself real soon. He'll watch them during the day while I rest. My mom came over this weeked and did all the laundry and cleaned a little. Donnie's parents help take the boys to soccer pratice also. I'm so greatful I have such a supportive family and friends. Thanks to everyone for the cards, thoughts and prayers. We are going to Pittsburgh this Tuesday night for my biopsy and tests, we hope to be back Friday! Pray for no infection and no rejection once again. We will visit my friend Karin while we are there. She has been in the hospital 7 months or more. Continue to pray.

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9.25.07 - Donnie once again. Good news. Karen is home and out of Emory. She was discharged on Sunday afternoon. The CMV level was nondetectable on Friday. They gave her a couple more doses of the Foscarnate for good measure. They were going to let her come home on Saturday but a glitch kept her one more night until Sunday. Saturday night when I got off work I went to see her and we watched the UGA vs. Alabama game. How 'bout them Dawgs!! She's still weak but feels a bit better. We are headed back to Emory today for a clinic visit in the pulmonolgy lab. The are going to draw lab to get a CBC count to see if she needs another injection for her white cell count. The boys have soccer practice tonight and she is going to try her best to go see them play. Hopefully she is back on the road to a normal life again.More good news to share. Karin Bordner in Pittsburgh is out of CTICU and back on the 9th floor. She is breathing better and hopefully back on her road to recovery as well. 

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9.19.07 - Hello everyone; it's Donnie again. Karen apologizes for not updating sooner but she is just not up to it right now. She is still in Emory. Her condition has not changed too much. Right now her main problem has been balancing out her electrolytes. The IV med for the CMV is reaking havoc on her blood levels. She's been getting an assortment of replacements through IV: such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium phosphate, and so on. All this has caused her to be weak and she has also experienced extreme numbness in her arms, legs, and face. Two nights ago when these symptoms first came on she could barely stand up to get to the bathroom and she was actually scared she was having a stroke. The nurses called the on-call doc and it was determined her symptoms were from an inbalance in her electrolytes. They have now cut the CMV IV med by half. This is because her kidney numbers have been steadily inching up (up is not what we want); but also because the last CMV lab showed a decrease in the amount of infection. Now that the CMV med has been reduced, her kidney numbers came back down some today. This is good. Her appettite is ever so slowly coming back around. Instead of not eating at all she is now nibbling here and there. She is down to 100 lbs. Tomorrow morning they are drawing another CMV level. Let's pray that it is down or gone completely. If they can stop the CMV IV med, hopefully the electrolyte levels will normalize and she can look at a discharge date soon. She is really getting tired of being stuck with needles. Because her veins in her hands and arms have been used so much lately for lab draws and IVs they are getting weak. They keep blowing out after an IV stays in for more than a day and then they have to stick her again somewhere else on her arm or hand for another IV. Karen's mom has been staying with her overnight most nights while her dad comes up during the day. I'm getting up as much as I can after work and on my off days and spending the night when I can. My mom and dad have been helping me out by keeping the boys while I have to work and getting them to school and soccer. Mom has spent the night at our house many nights to get the boys off to school. We're trying our best to keep their schedule as normal as possible but it gets tough. Our friend Karin in Pittsburgh also continues to struggle. She is still in the CTICU and is having difficulty breathing. She also has moderate rejection in her lungs which is adding to her difficulties. She showed rejection on a previous bronch and now again. Her link is in the post above on 091407. Karen of course is reading the posts that you are sending so please keep them coming. Emory has wireless access and we have our laptop up here to keep up.

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9.14.07 - Donnie again. It's a week after Karen came to the Emory ER and she is still here. Over the past week they have done quite a bit. When we came in they ran some blood work and one of the tests done was to see if she had an infection known as CMV. On Tuesday we found out she has a low grade amount of CMV. We also learned that the drug (Valcyte) she was taking to combat CMV is hard on the bone marrow and this is possibly why her white cell count has been consistently low. Since she has been here they switched her medicine to combat the CMV. It too has side affects though. It is not tough on the bone marrow but it is tough on the kidneys. As you may remember her kidney's "took a hit" during the transplant surgery. Since the surgery her kidneys have functioned fine but her kidney numbers have been a bit elevated. For this reason they are watching her kidneys closely and giving Karen plenty of IV fluids to keep the kidneys flushed out. The fluids though are making Karen feel overloaded and is causing her some shortness of breath especially when she tries to lay flat. For that reason they are giving her oxygen to help with the shortness of breath. For now the protocol has been: give her IV fluid and let it run slowly, when it's in they hang the new CMV medicine, once it's done they give her diuretics to pull the excess fluid off and then start over. They do this twice a day. They also saw that her red cell and platelet count was down when she came in and continued to drop over the weekend. On Tuesday night they gave her 2 units of blood to help with this. On Tuesday before the transfusion she was as white as her bed sheets and had no energy at all. On Wednesday she had much more color and had a bit more energy. For now the plan is to get a CMV level drawn today. If it shows no CMV they will continue to give her fluids for her kidneys and monitor her over the weekend. If she still has the CMV they will continue into early next week with the same protocol.  As our Karen is back in the hospital, her friend Karin in Pittsburgh who also had a heart lung transplant is back in CTICU.  She started running a fever and her bloodwork showed an infection that necessitated the move back to ICU. Karin had her transplant at UPMC in February of this year and has been in the hospital ever since with various complications. For more information on her condition please refer to her website at www.karinsnewheart.org   Please continue to remember our special girls in your prayers.

9.09.07 - It's Donnie again. Well as feared would happen Karen is in the hospital at Emory. She continued throwing up all day Thursday, Thursday night, and continued through Friday afternoon. The Zofran (nausea medicine) did not help at all. We tried another medicine that the transplant coordinator called in to the pharmacist on Friday morning. The nausea and throwing up slowed slightly Friday afternoon but she still could not hold any liquid down at all. By late Friday afternoon I was becoming concerned about dehydration and we both decided she needed to go to the ER. Once we got there they got her straight into a room and started IV fluids and pulled several vials of blood for labwork. They also gave her some IV Zofran and that provided relief for the nausea. I could tell she was getting relief because she was having a hard time staying awake while the nurses and doctors asked her questions. She had not slept since her first shot Wednesday night. Before long they were just asking me and letting her rest. On Saturday she felt better but still not good. The nausea comes and goes but she is not throwing up. She still can't eat anything though so she is weak. Some of her blood work is still out of wack so the goal is to draw more blood on Sunday and see what needs to be done. Needless to say she did not get to go to the boys' first soccer game. I took the video camera and filmed so she could watch it, but of course it's still not the same. The rooms at Emory now have VCR/DVD combos attached to the TV's so she was able to watch the video Saturday afternoon when I got there. For now the kids are staying with MawMaw and PawPaw (Donnie's parents) and we'll work out school schedule and everything on Monday. Hopefully she will be out of the hospital in the next day or two. Keep praying. 

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9.06.07 - Tonight Donnie is doing an update. Yesterday afternoon Karen got a call from her transplant coordinator in Pittsburgh with some news that she did not want to hear. Her coordinator said that upon receiving the last blood work results her white cell count is still not up where they want it so Karen has to do another round of the shots that knocked her on her butt the last couple of weeks. Karen asked the coordinator if there is any other option other than the shots and the coordinator said unfortunately there is not. She told Karen to take Tylenol every six hours to help control the bone pain and headaches and to take her Zofran regularly to help control the nausea. Karen gave herself the first shot last night after we got back from the boys' soccer practice. It was only the second practice Karen has been able to get to because of the first round of shots. Their first game is this Saturday and she hopes she can muster enough strength to make it. If not I'll roll the video camera. Last night the symptoms started and have not let up throughout the day today; and she still has two more shots to take, one tonight and one tomorrow night. She is very nauseous and has a migrane headache. She has not been out of the bed at all today and will probably stay there until the symptoms wear off.  I have given her Tylenol and Zofran regularly but they are not helping much, if any at all. She's still throwing up and has the migrane. I am trying to push Gatorade down her just to keep her somewhat hydrated. Of course she's not eating anything; I can't blame her because it would just come right back up. Needless to say she is very upset because once again she was starting to feel better and play with Hunter and Carter just to be knocked down again. Please keep her in your prayers.  As is evident she is still in the recovery phase even though eight months have now passed since the surgery.

9.03.07 -  Hi--sorry I haven't been on the computer lately. I got out of the bed for the first time I think on Thursday this past week. I did the 3 shots and wham - every bone in my body hurt. This medication stimulates the bone marrow to make new white blood cells, so your bones hurt.  I'm very sensitive to medication, and that one had bad side effects...I had my blood work done twice last week and I still haven't heard the results.  I hope my white blood cell count is back up - 'cause this chick doesn't want any more shots.  I have been unable to play with boys like I had been.  My kidney level is still high so all they say is drink, drink, drink. Now that the shots have worn off, I need to build up my strength again. My dad came over 3 days last week to get Hunter up and dressed for school. He will be over tomorrow also.  Carter starts school tomorrow. My dad will help me this week taking them both and hopefully next week I will have enough strength to do it myself like I was doing. I was doing so good until this.  I'll slowly making it back. Donnie has been great watching the boys during this time... I'm ready to do the playing now!  Thanks for all the prayers and support.

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8.23.07 - This is Karen's mom writing--Karen and Donnie returned from Pittsburgh last Friday.  Her doctor prescribed a series of three shots to help build up her white blood cell count.  Karen has been very sick from the shots--in fact, she has been unable to get out of bed since last Saturday.  She is in a lot of pain and has been very nauseated.  Her transplant coordinator says the shots will eventually wear off.  Karen has been unable to eat anything since last Saturday but has managed to drink enough to keep from being dehydrated.  She was finally able to go get bloodwork today, and we hope to get the results soon to see if the shots have helped her white blood cell count.  The great news is that we heard from her biopsy and there is NO REJECTION AND NO INFECTION!!!  As soon as she is able, she will be writing a blog.  Please pray for Karen as she struggles to recover from the effects of the shots.  As always, thank you for your support and prayers.

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8.16.07 -  Today went good. We arrived at 6:00am for my biopsy. It took a little bit longer this time for me to wake up. I always tell the anesthesiologist that I'm a light weight and they were very good, but I woke up in recovery 1 hour later this time. He had come out and told Donnie that I was right in the fact that I was a light weight. I was just greatful I didn't wake up with the tube still in. My doctor said my lungs "looked" good but they still have to wait on the results. My red blood cell count is down and I'm very anemic so she gave me a shot today, and I have to do 1 a week for a month to boost my red count. My white count was also down this time and I'm a little too immuno-suppressed (can get germs even more easily now) so I have to wear a mask on the flight home tomorrow because of germs and re-circulated air.  She will double one of the rejection meds and lower another med to help this problem. ** I am sore from the biopsy and my voice is very hoarse from the tube.  I took a 4 hour nap today and will go to bed early tonight. We fly home tomorrow.   We miss our family and especially the boys!!!

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8.15.07- Well, we are in Pittsburgh. Today I had the usual PFT tests, chest x-ray, bloodwork and saw my pulmonologist who is doing my bronc in the morning. Our dear friend Gail Corbett picked us up from the airport, so we saved on the $55 cab fare from the airport. After all my tests, we visited my friend Karin who had a heart/double lung transplant also. I hope she gets out very soon. She looked great today. I said hello to all my nurses that I had when I was in the hospital.  We also saw Karin's mom and husband. We spent some time with them and then her mom was on her way out so she brought us back to the hotel so we didn't have to ride the shuttle.  Donnie and I are very tired so we ordered in pizza and will hit the bed early tonight. I have to be at the hospital at 6:30a for my bronc/biopsy.  I pray for no infection or rejection once again!  I miss the boys......  Oh, I want to say "THANK YOU" to another dear friend and supporter who graciously helped us out on the airline tickets here.  She was willing to use skymiles but ended up giving a donation to pay for the tickets this trip.  She's been an angel to us. Her support and prayers have been appreciated by my entire family. God bless her and her family.

                       First family portrait since surgery....

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8.13.07 - Hi. Sorry it's been a few days.  I've really just been taking Hunter to school and back.  Carter doesn't start his 4yr old pre-k until the day after labor day. **I've been coughing a lot lately because we were out here and there. The smog and heat are way too much for me right now. I've stayed in most days after getting Hunter.** Donnie's birthday was Friday and we went out to eat while his parents watched the boys. We took the kids to a train show on Saturday and then went by my mom and dad's for Donnie's birthday with them. Sunday I had to rest and stay out of the smog and heat so my mom watched them at my house for me. Today Carter and I took Hunter to school and came home and both took naps. He's not used to getting up that early and I just had to stay in so I could breathe without the smog and heat. **We go to Pittsburgh Wednesday - Friday. Pray all the tests, and the bronchoscopy go ok and I have no infection or rejection!  Love to the other Karin who still shows some rejection - I'm coming to see you Wednesday!

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8.7.07 - Well, let's see the end of the week Donnie was off so we stayed around at the house. Friday morning we decided to drive up to the lake one more time before Hunter started school.  They had a blast as usual. Friday I went out on the boat and stayed under the canopy but the smog and heat was too much this weekend. I was ok as long as we were riding. After dinner my in-laws took us to DQ for ice cream. Saturday I stayed in out of the heat and smog. I have had a bad cough because of all of the smog and heat. The boys rode the wave runner with daddy and swam with mama and pawpaw. I put some new pictures up in the house. We ate dinner and left late Saturday night.  My mom came over Sunday so I could rest, I was still coughing.  My doc in Pittsbugh will check it out next week when we return to Pitt. **Monday was Hunter's first day of Kindergarden. I thought he may not want to go or cry.  He did great,  Carter and I walked him to his class, said our goodbyes and he was gone, in his seat and already playing with the other kids in his class. I actually was ok - I did miss him and was lonely because he was gone all day until 2:15 or so.  Carter and I played and passed the time. Carter really misses his big brother - like he's lost his best friend. **Today Hunter had another great day. He stayed on Green (great day) all day and no notes home!!!****  I had an appointment with my primary dr so he could get everything straight and together that he has to have before my referals I have to have now to go out of state every two months for care.... Long insurance story....Anyway Donnie is off tomorrow and he wants to take Hunter to school tomorrow -   I will be sleeping late! Here is Hunter on his 1st day of K.

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8.1.07 - Today my dad came over so I could get some much needed rest. He fixed lunch for boys and played outside with them also. They boys had a blast! He also did the dishes and cleaned for me. He brought his dog Pickles over to play with Erie.** This morning I was on the phone with the hospital and the insurance company about all the bills we have. We have so many It's outta control, so I got most of it straight for now. I took a nap after all that and granddaddy watched the boys! **Yesterday my dad came over and took us to get Hunter's school supplies for Kindergarten. We ate and let them play on the play ground.. We ran a couple of other errands to get out of the house. I had a good day! 

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7.30.07 - Saturday we all stayed at home and enjoyed the kids. I was feeling exhausted so we didn't go anywhere. Sunday  my mom came over and she helped clean and went to the grocery store for me so I could rest. I didn't feel that I could do anything Monday, so Donnie stayed home with me. I had to go get some bloodwork re-done. Donnie stopped by Hunter's school and got him registered for Kindergarten. I can't believe I have a son going to Kindergarten. Carter will start later at pre-k for 4yr olds at the church. When we got home - Donnie watched the kids and I took a nap and rested. I've just been so tired later after all the organizing we did. I have to slow way way down this week.. Pray for strength.

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7.27.07- On Monday, Donnie's mom had the boys for the day. They like the change of scenery. They went to the park and played with some other little kids. I needed to rest all day but didn't. I started my organizing craze in the morning but started to not feel well so I layed down for the afternoon to rest.  Tuesday, my dad came over and took me and the boys to get my bi-weekly bloodwork. We ate lunch and let the kids play at Chic-fil-A to get rid of some energy. We then came back to my house and he helped with the boys! ** Wednesday, Donnie was off and he put the cubes and organizing storage units together. It took most of the day.  After they were all put together, we brought in the boys to pull everything down and out of their closets...everything.  We started from scratch and separated old and new toys from broken to old. Took some to basement and brought some up. We got it all done these past couple of days.  I think I way over did it by helping even though I was sitting most of the time.  But their rooms look great right now!  ** I rested the last end of the day in bed so I didn't get too bad dizzy. Tomorrow we will try to get out of the house since being in for 3 days or so...Then I will finish by getting my room done with labels and storage... Pray for strength. I have to go slow!

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7.22.07 - Let's see... Friday we ran a couple of errands, ate, then came home for the day. We played with boys and played bowling and tennis and other games with them on the game system. It's fun--the whole family can play and it gives you a workout having to stand most of the time. ** Saturday was a great day. I felt wonderful. We signed the boys up for soccer and they will able to play together this year. They got their shoes, shin guards, practice ball and bag. The uniforms have been ordered. They cannot wait! ** After that we went home for a bit and then went downtown. My best friend from Thomasville, Ga. and her husband and two boys came up for a Braves game. We met them at the Varsity to see and talk to them. She had not seen me since my surgery. We took some pictures and talked about all the boys. Everyone loved those naked dogs.....haha. I hope to go down to Thomasville to see my other childhood friends.**Sunday my mom came over andhelped me around the house. We also got out and went to the store to get a couple of storage cubes and organizers. We are going thru the boys closet and putting in a storage unit for both. All this wore me out. The boys are staying with grandma Arrowood tomorrow so that will be a slow down and rest day for me. I posted a couple of pics from Saturday with Laurie.

 

                            

7.19.07 - I felt much better today. We all stayed around the house and only left to get hair cuts for the boys. We are having a family portrait made in the next two weeks with Donnie's family. We played with the boys and tried to do some cleaning. I can halfway load the clothes to wash because it's on top. Donnie has to move them from the wash to the dryer and then get them out.  I am still gaining strength. I do help fold when I can. I'm feeling so good today but sad for my friend Karin who is still in the hospital.  She is actually back down in CTICU :(   They say she has pneumonia which they are treating now. She also has some "moderate rejection" in which they will increase her rejection meds, prograf, her steroid and cellcept. Please pray the antibiotics will work and she will be back up on the 9th floor again real soon. Please pray tonight...

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7.18.07 - Well Monday I didn't have to have bloodwork so my dad came over around lunch. We went to eat and make a few stops. He loves getting to come over and play with the boys - and to see me. HaHa. He actually played some video games with the boys also. They loved it. Tuesday was kinda the same thing. We hung out at home and got some more insurance stuff straightened out. We are still trying to get my primary care doctor here in the Pittsburgh loop. Since we reached the lifetime maximum on our PPO, we are having to get approvals to switch "outside the normal enrollment time" to a different insurance. We will have a harder time it seems now planning my out of state visits, with getting referals and things. But both the insurance, my primary care doc and my doctor in Pittsburgh have all been so helpful to us. **Today the boys were at MaMa and PawPaw's house. I was going to rest but then I got up to try and catch up on some email, phone calls, bills and last but not least a few more thank yous. I got up and couldn't concentrate even in total silence. I was very shaky today and didn't feel like doing anything. I laid back down around 3pm or so and woke up when Donnie and the boys got home.  I am so glad Donnie is off the next few days.

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7.15.07- Today I tried not to be lazy. I felt really good today. It's Sunday so my mom was over.  She helped do some things around the house. We rode to a couple of stores for a few things. I really needed groceries, so I bought some with mom's help. She lifts the heavier stuff like drinks, milk and so on. It's hard to think that I'm still that weak, but I am. I still can't really carry more than1-2 bags. I still have a hard time closing the hatch back to my van. The good thing is that the boys are big enough to climb in their own car seats. Believe it or not, I still have not driven since a few months BEFORE my surgery. Before the surgery my doc said I could pass out all of the sudden, during driving also.  They said not to drive 8 weeks after I got out of the hospital.  I still haven't now because I don't have All my concentration where I feel comfortable. I'm still very shaky and my foot has a hard time staying on the brake because of that. Yes, I'm still being driven around by hubby, dad, mom or my friends. Some one seems to always need to be with me day by day.

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7.14.07 - Well today has been a very lazy day. We all stayed in ALL day, I think even in our PJ's. We needed a day like today. We haven't had one in a very long time. No where to go or be at any particular time. We played games with the kids all day and I got DVDs and picture CDs I've been wanting to do. I felt fine - we were just all lazy today.**We were out all day yesterday running errands and other things. We also took the boys to the movies. They love the movie popcorn. We got a couple new games we call all play together for their game system.  I'm still doing good on the new med that is still in study!! Pray it keeps working . Please continue to pray for Karin. I pray she doesn't have to go back down to CTICU - I didn't like that place at all.... 

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7-12-07 - Sunday my mom and I hung out at my house. She helped with the laundry and others things.  I'm gaining strength every day. *Monday my dad took me to get my blood work done for the next two weeks. I love it now that I only have to go every other Monday now. I'm still waiting to hear if I can stop two of my meds, my Bactrim and Valcyte. They say after 6 months post transplant....we'll see. Tuesday, my mother-in-law wanted to keep the boys so I went out with a friend of mine. She came to pick me up and I took her to lunch for her Birthday! We didn't do much, only went in two stores because it was raining so hard. She brought me home and when Donnie and the boys got home we went to my parents house. My moms birthday was July 10th! She opened gifts played with all the grandkids and ate cup cakes. **Wednesday we stayed in and played with the boys all day. Later, we took them to the Kennesaw Train Museum. They loved it! I felt good that day. *Today was a stay in to clean and rest day. Can you believe I am still going thru of my Pittsburgh stuff - cards, letter, gifts, blankets, pictures and things for the scrapbook I will try to find time to make soon. Over all I have felt better since switching my meds..... My friend Karin has been passing out and they don't know why - so continue praying for her and her family. She's doing great otherwise :)

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7-7-07 - Well we are back! Good news also - I have NO rejection and No infection again! That's great news. I woke up without the tube again and wanted to cough. The doc said try not to for the first few hours because I may still have blood from the procedure.  I was sore from the biopsy for a couple of days. Bruce Corbett came to pick Donnie and I up of the hotel and we went to lunch and talked with him a bit. I had taken him some pictures I took while we stated in his house. He loved them. After a nice lunch he took us to the airport. We had plenty of time so we walked around the airport got a magazine to read on the plane. **My mom came over Sunday as usual and we took the boys for a ride and by to see PaPa. My dad came over Monday mid day and took us to lunch and to a couple of stores. My dad came over again Tuesday and played with the boys so I could rest. I was really tired that day. **My mom was off Wednesday so she came over to help. I still was very tired. My doctor started me on two got up and went to the lake for the 4th of July. We had a great time. It was very relaxing. Can you believe my Hunter water skied for the first time ever. I can't believe he did it. Carter said maybe next time. I actually rode with Donnie and the boys on the wave runner. I don't drive it yet but will ride slow. If Donnie dumped me off, I wouldn't have the strength to pull myself back out of the water......Anyway we are home now and I had a great day ----- feeling great. We goback to Pittsburgh around August 15th...yuck. I posted a couple of pics from the lake.

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6-29-07 - Today Donnie and I stayed in this morning. We took a shuttle to a place called SouthSide Works later. They have eating places, movie theatre and shops. We ate lunch outside and then went in a couple of shops and then the bookstore. I started getting tired so we sat to rest where the fountains were. My throat is still sore along with my lungs when I cough. ** We are in for the night and will try to sleep late in the morning. I haven't slept well while here. I've been waking up around 3am or so and not going back to sleep. I hope now that the tests are behind me I can rest tonight. We hope to meet the Corbetts tomorrow. more meds this week. One is Myfortic (rejection) med and klonopin (anxiety). They seem to working well right now. I need to give them a couple more days to get in my system. Klonopin seems to make me dizzy and very sleepy so we will watch that one.** Thursday we They may also take us to the airport - that will save the $50 cab fare. They have truly been angels for us! We will be home late tomorrow night...

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6-28-07 - Sorry I didn't post yesterday. I was very tired. Yesterday I did all the pre-tests. The doctor ordered a last minute test also for all my GI and upper abdomen problems. Everything was fine. Most of my GI problems are because a couple of my meds. Most of all the Cellcept (one of my anti-rejection medicines). They want me in a study group for a new drug like Cellcept but it's coated and is seems to be working better for more lung patients. They were using it for kidney transplant patients but have now realized it could be used with lung transplant patients also. After I arrived today for my biopsy, the lady in charge of the study group told me the computer picked me as one to stay on Cellcept. My pulmonologist really wanted me to be put in the other group to try the new medication. They cannot overide the computer for the study butmy doctor is trying to get me on the new one anyway. The only thing now is seeing if insurance will pay because it's FDA approved but not "approved to treat lung patients yet." Being in the study group gives you a free 6 months supply. So we may have to pay for this drug... **Yesterday I also visited with Karin for a couple of hours. I gave her a couple of Georgia shirts. She's made great progress. She was inspired and glad to see me;knowing that I have had the same surgery as she did. She could physically see me and the progress I have made since going home in May. I hope she can get out soon. Continue to pray for her as well. I have a picture of us below. **This morning we were at the hopital at 9am for pre-op and my bronc/biopsy was at 10:30a. I woke up without a tube again this time. It was great to wake up in recovery with no tube. We were out of there around 2pm! I was put to sleep and still groggy so they said rest today. My throat is still sore and I'm not supposed to cough hard. I'm wanting to cough so it's hard to try not too. I still feel where they did the biopsy and clipped pieces of tissue when I do cough. It should be gone tomorrow. We should have the results tomorrow or Monday. We are coming home Saturday... We really miss the boys!!

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6-26-07 - It's 9:30pm and Donnie and I have arrived in Pittsburgh. As usual it was overcast and gloomy - I don't think the sun ever shines here. As soon as we checked in at the desk, the shuttle driver said hello to us by name. She remembers Donnie and my family staying here when I was in CTICU.She asked how I was doing and said good luck with all my tests the next two days. Tomorrow I have to be at the hospital at 9am for myPFT'S (pulmonary function test), a chest x-ray, blood work and see my doctor. After that is all done we are going upstairs to visit my friend Karin on floor 9. I can't wait to see her again. We hope to see Marilyn, from the church and the Corbett's who were gracious enough to let us stay in their home during my surgery and so on for 5 months.The boys, who I miss already are at Nana and PaPa's house. I have my computer with me and will try and post every day after each visit to the hospital.

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6-24-07- We had a great turnout for the party. Thanks to Tammy, Jana, Ann and Evalina for doing an awsome job. I did what I said I wasn't going to also. I stood most of the entire time talking to everyone.It was so wonderful to meet some people for the first time. We thank you for coming and all you support and prayers.** I promised myself I would sit and rest. I didn't, and my legs got shaky and weak.There were kids there too and Hunter & Carter had a great time playing. Thanks to Danny and Rach for bringing things including his cool dj stuff with a great playlist. Tammy gave Donnie and I a pretty good amount of $$ from the raffles.We really need everything we can get. We are going to Pittsburgh Tuesday, June 26th and return Saturday if we can. We will be going every two months. I pray they find no rejection or infection while there. **My mom came over today to help with the boys and worked on laundry for me. We went for our Sunday ride and then home. My dad will be here tomorrow to help.

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6-20-07 - Today was a much better day.  My mom is feeling much better. She will have the results from her stress test in a few days.  It must have not been anything too bad because they let her go home! I have had a much needed 2 days of pure rest.  I still have some stomach problems and a problem with one of my meds.  I think they need to change my anxiety med...I still have the shakes and my concentration level is not very good right now. Erie (dog) and I stayed in bed as long as we wanted. The boys wanted to spent the night their grandparents and it worked out great. I had peace and quiet today. I also missed them all day. They went swimming at their aunt Missy's neighborhood. They must have played hard because they are both asleep already.

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6-14-07 - It's me! I finally have a computer to use while mine is being repaired. The last two weeks have been crazy. I've done a lot lately. I'm still shaking and my stomach still hurts off and on. I've started taking fibercon and of all things eating marshmallows. I know it sounds crazy but there is apparently something in them that will help...** I did go to my mom's office to personally thank everyone. I'm really glad I was feeling well enough to go. My family is very thankful to all who gave or helped! We got Carter registered for 4 year old pre-k and Hunter for kindergarten. I can't believe how big they've gotten. They also had Dr. appts for their shots before going to school. They could not get one of their shots because and since I basically have no immune system, they will have to wait until I am more fully recovered to get this shot, since it's a live virus. I needed to rest so my wonderful mom came to help me. My sweet dad has been taking me to have my blood drawn every Monday. He comes back to my house and stays with us! I really love getting to spend more time with my dad during the week some.** My prograf level was a little high and so was my creatinine level so they changed my doses around again. I couldtell something was up because I was a lot more shaky than usual. Carter has been riding his Thomas bike he got for his birthday, and Donnie and his parents put the trampoline together today--they had a blast jumping on it. It seems we have something to do every weekend until after the 4th of July, but I've seriously got to rest and SLOW down. I am still recovering.... ** Also my other friend, Karin is still in the hospital. It looks as if I will be able to visit her June 27th when I have to go back to Pittsburgh for my bronc/biopsy. Please continue to pray for her. Thanks again to all my friends, family and strangers for their support and prayers!

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6-5-07 - Karen has been feeling pretty good lately, but still a little shaky.  Saturday was Carter's 4th birthday party at their house. The party was held outside - it was a very nice day, a little overcast, but that kept Karen from getting too much sun. She is not supposed to get in the sun because the medications she is taking can cause skin cancer. A good time was had by all! Sunday, my mom spent the day with me to help out with the boys. Yesterday, my dad came over and took me to get my bloodwork, then we ran some errands. I finally got the results of the bloodwork I had last Monday, and everything was great! Dad also came out today to help me out with some things and run after the boys. We had a good time. Today was Carter's actual birthday, so we took him (and Hunter) to Chuck E. Cheese. He and Hunter really had a good time. Thursday, my mom’s office is holding a BBQ fundraiser for me. Me, Donnie, the kids and my dad are going to attend. It will be my chance to thank everyone in person for everything they have done for us. I hope to have access to a computer on Thursday so I can write another blog. Thanks to mom for posting this blog for me.

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5-31-07 - Hello everyone.  This is Karen's mom writing.  Karen's computer is down so that's why she has not posted lately.  She is doing pretty well.  She has been spending time playing with the boys.  Both Donnie and I have returned back to work.  Karen's dad and I took her to get bloodwork on Monday--she has not gotten the results yet.  The last couple of days, Karen and Donnie have been getting ready for Carter's birthday party which will be held Saturday--his birthday is June 5th--he will be 4 yrs. old!   Hopefully, Karen can get her computer going soon and can write her blog.  Please continue to remember her in your prayers.  Thank you.

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5-21-07 - Hi. Sorry I have not written sooner.  Donnie and I have been trying to get everthing in order from the relocation.  We've just enjoying being home and enjoying the weather. My mom and dad has come over a couple of times this week. **I'm getting stronger but still shaky. I was really shaky this past weekend.  My bloodwork showed my Prograf (rejection med) was high making me even more so than usual. * Saturday the boys and some of the neighborhood kids played in our yard. They had the small pool and two slip-n-slides out. I watched them for a bit then went in to get out of the sun. I'm not supposed to stay out in it long.  One of my medicines along with direct sun can cause skin cancer in transplant patients. I have to be very careful at the lake and beach.**Sunday Donnie cleaned house and washed clothes - how fun. I played with the boys and printed some pictures. **As usual, I had to get my blood drawn before taking my meds yesterday. I didn't have to wait as long this time. The lab tech said I should definately drink more. I've been a little dehydrated. *Today we did some errands and I was very tired but made it. Donnie's parents invited us to dinner so we met them and then they came to our house for a little bit.**I was off my oxygen during the day but still sleeping with it. Now I've been off it completely for about 4-5 days. I love not dragging my oxygen tube around the house and out. I'm going to rest for the night.

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5-16-07 - Hi. I'm still here. We have just been relaxing and taking our time unpacking our things from Pittsburgh. We are just enjoying our house this week. *I stayed home Monday  and rested from a busy weekend. I sat on the porch and watched the boys ride scooters and bikes. Erie (new puppy) played with them also. She is very playful puppy! Carter and Hunter fuss over who is going to hold her when we ride. *Tuesday we ran some errands and I was fine.  I started feeling tired in my legs so we headed home. My mom and dad stopped by to see me and asked if I was exercising and eating right. I said yes**Today was a great day. I felt well enough to go out with a friend of mine. Rachel is the first friend I've seen since returning from Pitt. I'm still very shaky and I can't really concentrate enough to drive. She came to my house to get me and drove me around. It was really sweet of her. We got out at a couple of stores before I started to get dizzy and very tired. She dropped me off at home and we all stayed around the house. We didn't want to cook or anything so we ordered pizza.**I read about the other KARIN today and she is doing great.  Please continue to pray for her recovery and mine.

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5-13-07 - Happy Mother's Day to all Moms!  I know mine was great - I am home in Georgia and with my boys. **Friday we went to the lake with Donnie's family.  They have a golf cart for me to get down the hill to the lake. They had it before my surgery when I was on oxygen 24/7 and was so sick.  I rode it this weekend because of the big hill. We got there in time to go down to the dock for a bit. We ate dinner and went to bed. **Saturday I didn't feel to good in the morning, but got much better when I got up. We all went out on the boat for a couple of hours before it started raining. We went in and rested. After dinner we gave Donnie's mom her mother's day gift.** We came home this morning and my mom and dad came over. She got her gift also and loved it. Donnie, myself and the boys went to get something to eat and by the store for a couple of things. I have to go early tomorrow for my weekly bloodwork.  Goodnight.

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5-10-07 - Sorry about the last update being short but my computer was acting  up and I got tired of retyping what I was trying to say. Yesterday we got out a little while Donnie's mom watched the boys. Donnie and I got some much needed errands done and then went to their house for dinner. Donnie's sister and her new baby, Emma, were there also. Today I was tired and did not not feel well after the busy day yesterday. We basically stayed here all day and let the boys play while Donnie did some more unpacking and got the kitchen back together. Mom and Dad came over for a visit today and stayed through the afternoon. Yesterday while we were out I started to feel the effects of the Georgia heat. We were outside a little but I started getting dizzy so I  had to sit in the van and turn the AC up to get cooled off. Today I'm still feeling somewhat dizzy from the heat so I think we're going to turn the house AC on soon if it stays like it is now. I'm still shaky from the tremors so Mom helped me write out invitations to Carter's upcoming birthday party.  It's basically gonna be the kids from the neighborhood and immediate family so we don't have to put out a huge effort in getting ready. Bye for now and thanks for your continuing support.

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5-08-07 - Today I slept late since I didn't go to sleep until 3am or so. Donnie moved some boxes from the garage so we could start unpacking. My mom and dad came by to see if they could help. I made some phone calls and made some appointments. We have plenty to do this week. I still had stomach problems. I'm not able to smell food, much less eat it. I'm drinking a lot so I don't get dehydrated and feel weak.

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5-07-07 - I'm finally home in Georgia! We made better time then we thought we would. We left around 7am and arrived home around 830pm. When we pulled up, my sister-in-law, husband & new baby were there hanging balloons and a welcome home sign. She said we were early Hee Hee. My brother, wife and their baby came by also. Jayden had grown a mile and was walking.  Everyone left and we all went to bed arournd 9:45p or so and I'm a night owl usually going to bed around 12-1am. I slept on 3 pillows but didn't sleep well.**Saturday we had a few other family visitors again and rested. I slept in a chair that night and actually slept!**Sunday we rested all day and went for a ride. The weather is so much nicer here. The boys played with thier neighborhood friends. They are so glad to be home. Today I had to get blood drawn for my weekly labs and pick up refills for all my medicine. We stopped by and registered boys for pre-school and kindergarten.  I can't believe Hunter will be in kindergarten! I'll miss them both but Hunter will go longer and everyday now. Donnie and I both got our hair cut.  It's been 5 months since I've been able to. We stopped at couple of stores before I started to get tired. We  got home and played with the boys and the new puppy. **I want to thank my entire neighbohood for everything. They all donated time, money and misc. things. Our yard was beautiful. It was cut,new straw down and beautiful flowers planted. Our house was also stocked with food! We have been very blessed by all.

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5-2-07 - Today I watched everyone pack for home. I feel bad just watching but I can't really bend over and pick things up. I'm supposed to only lift around 10 lbs until I get more upper body strength. My mom, dad and Donnie cleaned today also so we wouldn't have any of that to do tomorrow. They are loading the uhaul trailer tomorrow and Donnie's parents will be here to help.  Hunter and Carter are really wanting to go HOME now that they see us packing. They have been great about living in the rainy cold Pittsburgh.  My family has been wonderful. My mom and dad were here the ENTIRE time also!  I also couldn't have done this without everyone's notes, cards, gifts and most of all prayers.  Thank you again.***The cable and everything is being cut off tomorrow at the house so I will not have internet service again until Saturday or Sunday when we get home and have our cable turned back on. I hope to see everyone soon!  *Please continue to pray for my friend Karin (heart/lung transplant).  She is still in CTICU but doing great. **I have to be back to Pitt in June for another bronc/biopsy. I must return to Pitt every two months for this year and every three months next year.  I guess I will be flying/driving a lot. We will have to work out details on what we will do/stay and so on.....I'll worry about that in June. **Well I will go for now.  It's going be a very long drive but I can't wait.

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5-1-07 - I'm finally coming home to Georgia!! My doc called today and gave the ok.  Donnie's parents are driving up with their truck to pull the trailer and help us when we get home. We are leaving Friday morning and hope to make it in one day. **Friday all we did was rest.  I was still tired from my bronc and anesthesia so I rested all day.  Saturday we packed a little, things we are not really using right now. I sat on the bed while Donnie asked me what of mine to put where. We went for my usual ride to get out of the house.  The weather here is yuck. It's either cloudy or raining.  Someone here said there are only around 60 days of sunshine a year -  I miss Georgia. ** Sunday we met Marilyn and a couple of other ladies from Ingomar Church to say bye before leaving for Georgia. They gave me a beautiful prayer quilt. I love it! The Church has been wonderful with their help. We were very blessed with a lovely home to stay in while in Pitt.  We were strangers and they offered it without blinking an eye. We certainly had angels with us. We can't thank the Corbett's enough for their generosity.**Monday was another day of  tests at the hospital. The first was an echocardiogram to check my heart. Everything is fine. The second one was a 3 hr test to see how well my stomach is digesting and emptying. I was supposed to eat eggs, turkey, roast beef and drink a boost.  I had been sick (throwing up) all day before then but she said try anyway.  Sure enough I ate the nasty eggs ( which had nuclear medicine in them) and threw up. They were supposed to take pictures (x-ray) every 20 min to see how it was going. The nurse came back in and said the test was over once I got sick. Believe me I was not disappointed. After that Donnie and I went upstairs to see Karin Bordner one more time before heading home. She looked good. She was about to do her trach mask wean. She's doing longer times. They think the tear in her windpipe is healing on its own. Keep praying for her and her family. She's very strong and fighting like I did. She smiled  when I went in. I took her a Mickey Mouse who she loves. While in the CTICU, I saw some of my nurses and respiratory guys and gals. They all said how good I looked. I was up walking and no oxygen for the first time.  I also saw my actual surgeon. He couldn't believe how good I was doing so soon. We went up to the 9th floor to say goodbye also. Before leaving, we stopped by to see my post transplant coordinator about my bronc. She had all results back but two.  I have NO rejection and 3 of the 5 cultures for infection were ok.  Once we got home I rested. **3 days and counting to home...

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4-28-07 - Well today was a lazy day for everyone. I didn't sleep at all last night. My mom was also up with me and Donnie is sick. He thinks he has a stomach virus or something. *Yesterday we (they) packed some things that we no longer need. The rest of the day we all rested and played with the new puppy. ** Thursday I had to be at the hospital around 12n and they did the broncoscopy around 1:30p. Before they got started, the Dr. checked my diaphragm to see if it was working at all or getting stronger. Good news, it is getting stronger, so it is at least working!  I don't remember much of the bronc. They had me asleep before they even started. I woke up before they took me out of the OR and I didn't have a tube. I was so afraid that my breathing wasn't strong enough and they would have to keep me intubated. I stayed in  recovery for a couple hours and was able to go home. We still have not heard the results. We hope to hear Monday. Pray everything is fine.  If it is, we plan on driving home Friday!

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4-25-07 - Hi everyone. Sorry again about the slow updates. We stayed at home Monday mainly because of the weather.  It stormed so bad that the neighbor's dock flipped over.  We also had hail!   Carter ran to sit with me. **Tuesday we took a ride to Lake Erie.  It is only 50 miles from where we are staying. It was beautiful!  We took some pictures and went out on the pier. We rode around Erie and checked it out. While in Erie, we found a dapple daschund puppy for the boys.  We had promised them one once we got back home to Georgia. We fell in love with her and couldn't leave her. It is part of Carter's birthday present that's in June.  I'll post a picture below. **Today was a testing day for me at the hospital before tomorrow's biopsy.  I had to have my blood drawn, chest x-ray, pulmonary function tests and see the pulmonologist. She said I looked good. The lower part of my lungs were not opened all the way but she said it takes time.   I can stop checking my blood sugar every day. Goodbye to that and also one of my meds.  I can stop another in a couple of months.  I have to start iron because I've become anemic.  I'm still taking less medicine now than I was before the surgery.  Me, dad and mom stopped by to see Karin Bordner. She was the 2nd heart/lung patient this year at Presby. She seemed glad to see me.  She has a website also. www.karinsnewheart.org   - talked to her dad for a while also. Please continue to pray for her also. **Well, I'm going to bed.  I have to be at the hospital around 11:30a in the morning- Pray I don't have to stay!  It's usually an outpatient thing but they are using anesthesia so it will take me longer to "wake" up.  Pray for a good result. Bye for now.

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4-22-07 - I'm sorry about the updates but I've been spending all my time with my boys, Donnie, and my dad and mom.  They have been here the entire time.  I couldn't have done it without all of them.  My mom and dad gave me a beautiful bracelet, a coming home from the hospital gift.  I love it!!  Thanks mom and dad.  The nurse came by Friday as usual to get my vital signs and check me over.  Everything looked fine.  Later, we grilled out and stayed at the house.  Yesterday, we actually saw the sun for maybe the third time since we have been up here!  It was actually warm, so we let the boys go out and ride bikes and their scooters.  The next door neighbors got their boat out and took my dad, Donnie and the boys for a boat ride.  Me and my mom watched from the deck.  Last night, we took the boys to the Mercer Raceway to watch the sprint cars and stock cars race.  They loved it.  The dirt and sand being thrown up along with the smoke was not good for me to sit outside, so me and my mom sat in the van and pulled the van up to the fence so we could see the race.  The boys got $1 checkered flags and waved them during the whole race.  Today was another beautiful day.  I sat in the shade and watched the boys play again.  For the last couple of days, my appetite has started to come back.  I actually ate a meal yesterday and kept it down.  I've been taking my oxygen off during the day, but still sleeping with it on.  My feet are still huge.  They become painful if I keep them down too long.  **Below are some pictures from the last couple of  days.           

    

  

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4-19-07 - Well yesterday was uneventful. We watched the boys play outside, they needed to get out of the house and run around. The nurse came and did her usual. She said I was dehydrated a little and needed to drink, drink, drink.My appetite is still not back and things don't taste right, not even drinks. They say all that will come back in time. My feet are huge! I actually put my wedding ring back on for the first time since I rolled back to surgery. Donnie wore it around his neck until I got out but my fingers were still swollen. It's tight but I have it on. **Oh- and Donnie gave me something when I got out of the hospital. It was a necklace, January's birthstone, and it's shaped like a heart. I love it! It's my new or 2nd birthday birthstone.***Today we slept late (9:30). I still don't sleep very well and I still wake up at 4:30a. That's what time the nurse came in to draw blood at the hospital. They had to have the results back before the doctors did rounds. I have just stopped hearing bells, dinging and alarms. It was never quiet in the hospital. Today we sat outside and watched the boys ride bikes and blow bubbles. Our neighbors came over and talked to us for a little bit. We went to ride and while out we heard race cars from Mercer's Raceway. The boys loved the cars so we pulled in a high spot so they could see. They were practicing for the race on Saturday. Maybe we can take the boys back there tomorrow. I want to thank my entire family for being here beside me the entire time from the move to Pitt and the return move to Georgia! My dad came every day, Donnie of course and my mom. They would take turns spending the night. One or two of them was by my sid e 24/7. The boys came up also and watched cartoons. I don't know what I would've done without them. Donnnie's parents came up for several visits lasting 1- 2 weeks at a time. That was very helpful also. The kids are fine but today they asked when we were going back to our new house. I told them I have 2 more appointments before we go HOME!!

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4-16-07 - Sorry I have not posted in the last few days...I haven't been feeling too well.  During my visit to the doctor last week, he started me back on one of the anti-rejection medications called CellCept.  I had been taken off of it while I was still in the hospital because it was causing nausea.  I started taking it again last Thursday.  Sure enough, I got very nauseated and threw up all day Friday and most of Saturday.  We called the on-call doctor on Saturday and he called in a nausea medication for me to take and told me to stop the CellCept.  I am some better now, but still not able to keep much down.  I think I've only eaten a few bites of jello in the last 3 days.  I have been trying to drink as much as I can and have managed to keep some of it down.  In time, the effects of the Cellcept will go away and hopefully I will be able to eat again like I was after I first got home from the hospital.  My pulmonologist will be looking into putting me on another anti-rejection medication in place of the CellCept.  Hopefully, it will work better for me.   The visiting nurse came today to draw my blood.  We will get the results in a couple of days.  She also took all of my vital signs and they were good.  It snowed all day today so we kind of just sat around.  Donnie and my mom and dad are slowly working on packing and getting things ready for moving back home!   We have a lot more to take home than we did when we moved up here....lot of it is Christmas toys, etc., etc.  Hope to be back in Georgia soon! 

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4-13-07- Yesterday was another day of trying to get some rest so we basically stayed in except for a brief ride just to get out of the house. We got some good news about Jeannie Terhune. She has been a big help in arranging fundraisers and gathering money for my benefit. We learned that she going to receive two very prestigious awards in the next month. Please see my events and donations section for all the details. ** Today was another day to get a little rest. When I woke up this morning I did not feel quite as good as the past few days and also felt a little more anxious. I did not do too much today except get out for another ride. We ended up at WalMart and Donnie pushed me around in my wheelchair. On our way back to the house Tim Marks (Karin's Dad) called and invited us to a dinner fundraiser. It turned out to be in a large barn/community center here in our neighborhood. Donnie and my Dad went in with Tim because it was basically a bunch of local cops, game wardens, and such. The fundraiser turned out to be in large part for me. Thanks to Tim and everyone in attendance who donated to my fund. We were overwhelmed by the generosity by once again complete strangers. I'm going for now because I did not get much sleep last night and I'm about to crash.

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4-11-07 - Yesterday I did not do that much so I could rest to get ready for my follow-up appointment today. We were at the hospital for about half the day today. We met with my post-tranplant coordinator and one of the transplant surgeons. He took my last tube out today so I am officially free of any tubes and wires. My transplant coordinator (who is a nurse) and my transplant doctor said I am doing great considering it has only been a little over 3 months since my surgery. I will probably still be dragging my oxygen around for another week or so but they said I should start to try to wean off of it.  I took it off during my visit and my sats were in the upper 90's. I still cannot lay down without my oxygen though so I basically sleep straight up in the recliner. We found out today that if the biopsy on the 26th of this month shows no rejection and I do ok with the procedure we will more than likely be coming home to Ga the beginning of May!  On the way to the doctor's office we stopped so I could buy a new pair of shoes until the swelling goes down in my ankles and feet.  I had to go up 2 sizes bigger than normal. Up till now I have been wearing Donnie's house slippers any time I leave the house and they actually fit. At some point in the near future the swelling should go away. While at the hospital I took a trip back to CTICU to try to see Karin. We were not able though because the nurses were with her but we were able to talk to her dad. She is doing better and is still recovering from her latest surgery. I ran into one of the Critical Care doctors that took care of me while in ICU and some of the nurses. They almost did not recognize me and said I was looking great since my release. I will probably rest all day tomorrow after a tiring day today.

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4-09-07- Hi I hope everyone had a good Easter. I know I did because I was at home. The boys got up and got their Easter baskets and had fun playing and eating their chocolate bunnies. We hid eggs in the house because it snowed all day. Later in the afternoon we got out again and went to a nice restaurant oxygen in tow for our Easter dinner. After dinner I was tired but it was nice being somewhere other than the hospital. It was warm here when Donnie and his Mom bought the boys Easter outfits with shorts, but of course the cold snap came and with it the snow. We put the boys in their outfits anyway and thought a picture of Easter Sunday in the snow would be cute. The picture is posted below. **Today I was wore out from the activity of yesterday but I wanted to go for a ride and we needed a WalMart run. I thought about staying in the car but Donnie got me a riding cart and brought it to the car so I would not have to walk inside. I was able to ride around the store but even holding my arms up to steer was tiresome. Donnie had to walk beside me and steer a couple times while I gave my arms a break. I just haven't used them in a while. Again it was nice to begin to get back to the things I enjoyed before the surgery. The home healthcare nurse came this morning to check my vitals and draw blood. They will come every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Every Monday morning for a while I will have my blood drawn to check the level of my rejection medicine.  It might be adjusted periodically. I'm going to go for now because I'm getting tired.  I plan to rest tomorrow to get ready for my follow-up appointment on Wednesday with the surgery team in the hospital.

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4-07-07-  Well after 3 long months I'm finally out of the hospital. It's still a little hard to believe. At first I was a little anxious about being away from the safety of the doctors but I am getting more used to being back at home. The room at the hospital was getting smaller every day. Donnie, Mom and Dad have been working hard at trying to keep me comfortable and getting what I need when I can't myself. I still get frustrated because I still need help with things but I know it will still take some time. Right now my voice is still weak. I can talk but it takes a lot of air to make sound. I can't wait to talk to all my friends but it so hard to talk on the phone right now. Hopefully soon. **Hunter and Carter are still a little nervous that I will be leaving again. They keep telling me they are glad I am home. Carter has been sitting beside me on the couch combing and brushing my hair. **The first night I had a hard time falling asleep and did not really get any at all. Last night Donnie and Mom fixed a place on the couch that was comfortable. I still have to sit kind of upright because of my breathing. **I still feel a little confined so we've been getting out taking rides around the countryside. It's hard to believe it is snowing during Easter. Tonight we colored Easter Eggs to get ready for the Easter Bunny tomorrow. Today our neighbor Nancy and Jim came over and brought Easter Dinner that Nancy had prepared. It was great. I still get a little sick to my stomach so I'm eating a little bit at a time. **Donnie rented a recliner for me for a couple different reasons. I have some swelling in my ankles so I have to keep them elevated when I'm sitting. There was nothing here at the house that I could do that with. I am also going to try sleeping in the recliner since it basically sits perfect for the way I have to sleep right now. I am especially enjoying just watching the boys play and getting to be with them like a mommy again. **This morning we got some upsetting news. My friend Karin Bordner (the other heart/lung transplant recipient) was rushed into emergency surgery last night about midnight. She is doing ok and is stable now. Please pray for her continuing recovery. Don't forget her website for updates on her condition. www.karinsnewheart.org Thank you to everyone who sent cards and messages while I was in the hospital. It was a joy to read them as Mom and Dad and Donnie brought them in.

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Karen had her surgery on 1-4-07.....

****See Post Surgery Updates from 1-4-07 until 4-5-07

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***1-3-07 - Karen received the call for the transplant.  It's a go unless the surgeon going to retrieve the organs sees something wrong upon getting the organs. The surgery is planned anywhere between 4a-8a.  It is 8p on 1-3-07 now.

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1-02-07 - Happy New Year!  Yes, I'm still waiting. Many of you wondered if I had gotten the call because I had not posted in a few days.  Sorry, but I've been resting and staying in.  I had a sore throat and I've been trying to stay well so that if I get the call I can go ahead with the transplant. ** I stayed in bed and on the couch most of the day Friday.  Saturday and Sunday we all stayed in and went for a ride a couple of times.  Of course we watched the Georgia game on Saturday and ate popcorn.  The boys love popcorn and they have been eating it about 2-3 times a week for a late snack. ** Yesterday my mom and I went out for a little bit and the boys watched football all day.  Donnie and I were the only ones who made it past 12 midnight to ring in the New Year.  We watched a little of Dick Clark's Rockin' New Years Eve then went to bed -- so exciting I know.       **Today I went to get my bloodwork checked again for my coumadin therapy - it was a little high (too thin) so they changed my dose around again.  ** I started making my bead jewelry again today.  I've figured out how to make some neat things now.  I had put it down for a while until now.....

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12-28-06 - We had a good day Wednesday.  Both my parents, Donnie's parents and the boys went downtown Pittsburgh to the Carnegie Science Center.  They have play areas, science center, planitarium and more.  Of course Carter really enjoyed the Train display!  It is usually only there in December but it was so popular they made it all year around.  They also have an old submarine outside the center on the water (not under) we got to walk thru and that was neat. The boys had a great time with both sets of grandparents here!  **Donnie's parents got up this morning and played with the boys again before leaving to head back to Atlanta.  Donnie's sister is expecting a baby in January so they need to get back for her.  They will definately come back and visit or come when I get the call.  My brother, wife and nephew will also come up later.  I miss all of them.  *I spent all day in bed today because I was so full of fluid.  I got up around 5pm to eat dinner with the family and then layed back down on the couch.  I will stay in again all day tomorrow and rest.  Here's a couple of pictures from yesterday!

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12-26-06 - I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and happy holidays! **We attended the Christmas Eve service at Igomar UM.  We met Marilyn there.  We also met the Corbett's other family and kids.  We told them again how much they have blessed us by letting us stay at their home while waiting for the transplant. I rested the rest of the day when we got back to the house.** We had a great Christmas.  The boys had fun.  We let them play with the santa things first then the rest of us opened ours.  It was a good Christmas even though we were not at home.  It was going to be our first Christmas in our new house - oh well.  I hope they call in the next month or two so we can be on our way home.  I opened my gifts but I didn't feel well at all.  I had alot of extra fluid and short of breath.  I played with the boys a little while then laid down for a few hours.  After I got up I felt much better.  **Donnie's parents came in yesterday afternoon and the boys opened more gifts.  They were so excited to see the boys!  My mom cooked a Christmas dinner for everyone.  It was very good.  We had plenty of desert from all the neighbors and everyone bringing cookies and things by.  Both our neighbors at the house are very sweet.    Today Donnie's parents took everyone out to eat.  It's a local place and it was really good.  We came home and played games and things with the boys!   

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12-23-06 - Hello again! I haven't been doing much of anything really.  I've stayed in bed alot the past couple of days.  I wanted to get rid of my fluid to be sure I didn't spend Christmas in the hospital.  My parents went out and did a little shopping.  Me, Donnie and the boys have hung out at the house.  They have their v-smile games and coloring books! We are going to the Christmas Eve service at Ingomar tomorrow with Marilyn and hope to see the Corbett's also.  They have been so generous with their house and everything!  We appreciate everything that the Corbett's and the rest of the people at Ingomar have done for us!  God Bless all of you.  It's late so I'm headed to bed.....

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12-20-06 -  Well - I finally have internet service.  I've been lost without it.  I haven't been able to e-mail anyone or send pictures. **Today was my sweet Hunter's 5th birthday.  We had a power ranger cake and balloons.  We invited our neighbors to come by for ice cream and cake.  We had a great time. **They also invited us to Breakfast with Santa this past weekend.  Hunter and Carter sat in his lap, made cookies and ate breakfast with him. They had a great time!  **This past Monday I spent most of the day in the ER at the hospital where I will have my surgery.  I was still having sharp pains around my liver where they did the liver biopsy.  My doctor wanted to check and make sure I didn't have a blood clot or air pocket.  That was all ok but I did have fluid in my lungs.  I have to go back tomorrow to have an ultrasound of my liver to check something else. ** I rested all day Tuesday and Wednesday.  My dad and husband went out for a little bit and me and my mom stayed in with the kids. **We are really enjoying the house.  It is beautiful here.  I'm at least a little more relaxed or stress free up here.  The Corbett's are a wonderful family!  Here are a couple of pictures.  Hunter as a Power Ranger, the boys on the deck, and Hunter talking to Santa.

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12-15-06 - Hello from the neighbor's house. They were gracious enough to let us come over and use their computer so we could update.  We still will not have internet service until next week. Thank you to the Janzig Family! ** My mom took me to get my bloodwork done in Sharon, Pa.  It's right at the Ohio border.  I don't have to go to the main hospital just to do my bloodwork every couple of weeks. **Yesterday we got a little "Santa" shopping done for the boys.  I told them I let Santa know where we are living right now so he won't miss them.  Hunter's birthday is also next week so we are going to find a place to get a cake and we will have our own little family birthday party.  Donnie's parents are going to come up Christmas day and stay for a few days. My brother, wife and nephew will be home without us :-(    *They will come up when I get the call for my surgery!  Donnie's sister will have to stay home because her 1st baby is due soon.  *Believe it or not, I was able to make Christmas cards and will hopefully have them out in a day or so. * Well, I don't want to stay too long at the neighbor's house so I will go for now...

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12-13-06 -  Well we have been blessed with somewhere to live while waiting in Pitt.  Marilyn from Ingomar UM Church had put it in her bulletin and a family from the church offered their summer home to us.  They were gracious to allow us to use their lakehouse while it sat empty during the winter.  We don't even have to worry about furnishing it!  It's beautiful!  A personal thank you to the Corbett Family for their generosity.   That is a huge load off our backs.  All we have to do now is wait for the call. ** It may be a few days before I will be able to post again.  We are having someone come and hook up internet and tv service but it may take a week or so. ** We also have an address up here now.  It is : P.O. Box 202 -  Mercer, PA 16137.  The family doesn't have a mail box at the house so we opened a PO Box.  **We went and got a small pre-lit? tree for the boys.  We are trying to give the boys a normal Christmas while here.  Donnie and I told them that we wrote Santa to tell him where we will be for Christmas!  We still haven't really shopped for them yet but hopefully will be able to this week. Goodbye for now until I have internet service!

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12-11-06 - I had my first doctor's appointment with my cardiologist that will take care of and see me until the transplant.  He said I actually looked fairly good today.  Now yesterday was a different story.  I could not lie down or sit up and breathe with my O2.  I was miserable all day.  I took my extra diurectics and stayed in bed ALL day, it eventually got better.  I needed the rest.  I had gone 3 days without slowing down with the trip and everything.  Donnie and I helped the boys paint their Texas pine cones and glued beads on them to make Christmas trees.  Carter's teacher Mrs. Margie sent some of the projects and crafts that the class was going to do in the month of December.  So, for now we have 2 very small Christmas Trees for our decorations. **We met Marilyn this evening for dinner.  She and her church have been a great help to us already.  We hope to go to the church Wednesday or sometime to meet the other wonderful people! Anyway -  Here's a couple of pictures of the boys in the snow during the road trip and on their way to the indoor pool.  The Christmas trees they made are also cute!

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12-9-06 -  Hello from Pittsburgh! We ended up being in the car for almost 17 hrs but we finally made it. We hit a pretty good bit of snow in West Virginia and had to drive about 20-25mph.  We couldn't even see the road.  We had decided earlier in the evening that we would drive straight thru.  We were tempted to find a hotel in WV but there were no hotels anywhere in sight.  The snow stopped soon after so we kept going. There were some snow flurries and snow on the ground when we arrived in Pitt.  We got in around 3:00am and in bed about 3:30am.  I slept until 12:30 on Friday. We unloaded our clothes and a few things for now.  We are checking out some apartments and homes for rent.  The cost of living here is definately higher!  We have been in contact with some wonderful people at Ingomar United Methodist church. They have been a great help as far as where to stay and look for some things.  We are in the Cranberry Township area.   It's a great location.  Everyone is so friendly in Pittsburgh! We got out a little today and got a few groceries and looked at an apartment complex.  I plan on staying in all day tomorrow to get rid of some fluid and get some rest.  Donnie has a couple of places to check and some phone calls to make.  I have a doctor's appointment Monday at the hospital.  I am seeing my cardiologist and he's like Dr. Book (she's my cardiologist at Emory), so caring and personable like her.  I really like him.  **Hello to Dr. Book and everyone at Emory!! *Well it's late and I'm tired.....

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12-06-06 - Well - I got the results from my biopsy and everything is ok to go ahead with the transplant when they get another match.  She said I was in the very early stage called bridging fibrosis which means the damage right now is reversable once I get my new heart and lungs.  It does now qualify me to be moved up to the critical list.  They hope something happens soon to keep my liver from getting worse. *  I'm still kinds freaked out about the call I got Sunday!  Atleast next time they call I will be IN Pittsburgh and will not have to rush as much.   **Anyway - I wanted to let everyone we are leaving bright and early in the morning to head up to Pitt.  We will try and drive straight (making stops for the boys, me and the dog) there depending on how I feel.  My doctor says I need to get out at least every 2hrs and walk around and stretch for the circulation in my legs.  I've kinda got a lot of fluid and I hope to get rid of it before we leave.  My side is still a little sore from the liver biopsy.  As long as it doesn't hurt too bad and I'm comfortable we will drive until we get to Pitt. **We are staying at the Residence Inn Cranberry Township for a few days until we find the home or apartment we are going to rent.  I will let everyone know when we find a place until we come home. Thanks again for all the prayers and support.  *Next time I walk in my house, I will have a new heart and lungs.  I will no longer have to drag my oxygen tube around the house tripping everyone. I will be able to run and keep up with my boys!  I will post from Pitt next time....

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12-04-06 - Hi.  I'm home from my liver biopsy.  They tried to go thru my neck and was unable to get to my liver because of reversed anatomy.  After sticking  and numbing my neck they had to prep my side and go thru the skin to the liver.  I'm very tired and very sore in my neck and side.  My doctor hopes to have the results on Wednesday.  They seem to think it may just be congestion...I hope that's all it is.  **Anyway - yesterday was quite the day.  The phone rang around 3:30p and of course I answered as I normally would -  **It was the transplant team calling to tell me they found a match and they had a heart and lungs for me!  I think I was in shock.  It was so unexpected. My coordinator had to keep asking me if I was there...I'm sure he thought I was crazy.  I was shaking all over, my mom was with me and she about fell over.  My mom said the kids were yelling and playing very loud but I didn't hear a sound.  All I heard was the voice on the other line in a tunnel.  That's all I could hear. We discussed how long it would take the pilot to get to the plane and get it ready and flown over to Charlie Brown Airport (which is the one we would leave from).  The pilot was just about to be on his way - my mom was throwing "stuff" in a bag and I had called Donnie at work to tell him.  He was at the jail in Cobb co. and he dropped his radio, screamed we're going to Pittsburgh and ran to his truck.  I had called my dad at home who was resting and he got up and dressed and waited for me t to call him back.  Long story short, the surgeon had called back and said they didn't like a couple of numbers and results from the cath they had done to further check the heart.  It was called off for me.  He did not want to give me that particular heart after taking a second look. I guess they split the organs up - I don't know.  We caught all this before the pilot started to get ready to go.  It sure showed us that it can happen ANY time.  I don't think everyone calmed down until 7p or so. The coordinator said to keep our plans as is - So.... we are leaving Thursday unless they find another donor before then.  I told him the call had been a good practice run for next time...

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11-30-06 - Hi- me again with some more confusion to add...  The doctors in Pitt did talk and decided that I cannot take the IV med to help my heart pump and so they will proceed to get me moved up to the critical list.  That was all good until I went to Emory yesterday for a CT scan of my liver and a check up before leaving for Pitt.  The ct scan indicated that I may have a little congestion and maybe scaring of my liver from the heart failure.  Long story short - I now have to have a liver biopsy on Monday to see if my liver is damaged.  My doctor doesn't seem to think it will be anything based on my blood work but they have to do the biopsy and actually check the tissue.  Once again we are on HOLD until we have the results from the biopsy.  We will not leave for Pitt until the results have been discussed with the surgeon.  I don't think it will be anything but if it is something it could keep me from my transplant if my liver is damaged.  They also said they could possibly do a four organ transplant and then I would have to get a new heart, 2 lungs and a liver.  Pray they don't find anything Monday -- All this waiting is making me feel crazy.  I'm just ready to get to Pittsburgh, moved up on the list and have he surgery so I can start recovering and get back to my life with my kids and family.

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11-27-06 -Well, I'm kinda disappointed today.  I haven't heard from Pittsburgh about when we must move for sure.  I called later today and my coordinator said to still plan on moving up next week.  The board met and did not really move me up to the critical list just yet. They said they may try me on one more continuous IV med first.  I'm so confused now :-(  She said she would call me back - meanwhile we are stuck not really knowing much more for now.  I explained to her that if I am not moved up, we would like to stay home for Christmas and then relocate.  Who knows - I'm really sick to my stomach now worrying about what they will do. I just know I'm ready for the call. I want to be done with this and start getting better by summer!  Everything is on hold right now until we find out more...

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11-24-06 - Hi!  I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. We did.  My parents came to our house for a lunch and we went to Donnie's parents for his side of the family.  We haven't done much this week.  We are still waiting to hear from my transplant coordinator.  I was hoping she would call Wednesday night but she didn't.  We PLAN on driving up to relocate on Dec. 7th.  The only thing that will change that would be the coordinator telling us we must be there earlier.  I don't know with 100 percent if I will be moved up on the list.  I hope I am because I'm really ready for the call now.  I stay so tired and weak now.  I've reached a point to where I don't really ever feel that great.  I hope to hear from Pittsburgh Monday for sure.  We have been in contact with some wonderful people from Ingomar United Methodist.  They have offered to help with the boys when I have the surgery, finding a place to rent and so on.  Thanks to Marilyn, Margie, Bonnie and Teresa!  You have been an enormous help to us and we really appreciate everything you have done.  ** I believe the first batch of cookbooks are here!  We have ordered an additional 300 because we have already pre-sold all 400 of the first order!  Thanks to everyone for purchasing the book.  You can email me or Jeannie Turhune if you would like to order one. Web addresses are in the events page. **We have been playing with the boys and spending time with family.  We will miss everyone when we have to move for a few months!

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11-18-06 - Well,  I'm home! (for now)  My trip was good - I repeated all the tests. I had a chest xray, ct scan of chest, blood work, 6 minute walk and so on.  I also saw the social worker, financial dept., the pulmonologist, my nurse, cardiologist and my transplant coordinator. They agreed with my doctor here.  My pressures are very high and my right heart is enlarged.  They saw that my heart would not handle the IV drip to help my heart pump. They also agreeded that I would not handle the flolan to help bring my pressures down.  They are asking the board to vote to move me up to the critical list.  You usually are not moved up to that status unless you are on the IV drip to help your heart, but since I have two other problems, my heart will not handle it.  They will have to put me in a category all it's own.  I should know this Wednesday for sure.  We were able to come home for Thanksgiving and get everything in order here before we move.  You must be in Pittsburgh to be on the status 1B list.  I guess we are moving the first week in December.  We had a chance to call a few places and find an area we want to be.  We are looking for a two bedroom apartment or a home to rent.  I guess we will stay in a hotel the first few nights or week until we find something we like.  We really only have one thing to check out right now.  This is the hard part, having to move the kids and decide want we "need" to take with us.  My doctor thinks I should fly when we move.  She doesn't want me sitting that long (circulation and blood clots).  It looks like my mom and I will fly and my dad, Donnie and the boys will drive the van up.  This all could change. **I'm really worried that when I do get the call now that Donnie may be here in Atlanta working.  He would never make it to Pitt in time to see me before I went to surgery.  He would have to leave work, catch a commercial flight and get to the hospital.  The doctor says that after I get the call, they could start the surgery as quick as 3 hrs or as long as 10-12hrs after they call me.  I'm having a problem with that part.  ** I HAVE to see Donnie before the surgery.  Pray that it will all work out.  Donnie almost has enough time from work to be in Pitt during the surgery and the 1-2 months after.  Now that we have to move before the call, Donnie doesn't have enough time to come to Pitt with us and stay indefinately until the surgery.  They say it could be tomorrow or 3 months from now.  His schedule has changed at work and it will help.  He starts 12hr shifts tomorrow and will have 4 days off every other week with 3 off the other weeks.  I guess we will have to find some way for Donnie to fly back and forth until I get the call.  It will be very hard on him without the kids at home :-(  *We will be there for Christmas for sure.  The important thing is that the kids have a great Christmas.  I guess we will shop in Pitt for the boys Christmas !  The two big things they were getting will have to wait until we come back home.  We are trying to talk about having to stay in Pitt for a little while so they will get used to the idea.  I've tried to explain that we will have to stay there until mommy gets her new heart and lungs.  They say OK - but we'll see. ** My mom and dad will move with us which is great! We all have LOTS to do and get in order in 2 weeks. **Thanks for all the prayers and support!  Keep praying for the call and that Donnie will be there in time with me!    

11-11-06 - I'm home from the hospital.  They let me out just in time to pack and head to Pittsburgh.  Today we stayed home and a few of my friends came to visit me before we head out. ** I had a right heart cath on Thursday.  They checked my pressures and were going to test an iv medicine - but my wedge pressures were too high.  My heart can't handle the medicine. It's really the last thing available to control my pressures.  My pressures are actually almost as high as they were when I had Carter.  It's a dangerous level and my heart is very stiff right now.  Long story short, my doctor has talked to the doctors in Pitt and they think I will likely need to be moved up on the critical list for the transplant.  They also think since I've been in and out of the hospital 3 times in the past month that it's time for me to STAY in Pittsburgh until transplant.  My doctor is worried I am no longer stable enough to fly anymore after this trip.  I MAY have to stay when I go up this week.  We might get to come home for a couple of weeks to get everything in order before we relocate for good but not sure yet.  The doctors and the board will meet next week and decide I guess. Either way we are definately going to be in Pitt for Christmas and longer. *I will try to keep my blog updated for everyone.  Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and prayers.  Thanks to Cindy Thompson and her family for helping us out on the flights to Pittsburgh this week -  You are very generous!! Also, please be patient as I am still writing thank you's for donations and such. I haven't been home or able to do any of this since I've been in and out of Emory this past month and now am preparing to relocate to Pitt. **  We will be in the same hotel this week.  My parents are going with us and they are going to look around and see what's available to rent or something when we have to stay for good.  If we get to come home for a couple of weeks, we will pack and drive the van back up so we have a vehicle while there.** Anyway - I will update again soon - We have lots and lots to do and get in order before our flight on Monday afternoon.

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11-06-06 - Hi.  I'm sorry I haven't posted in a while.  I have not felt well at all and I'm actually back in the hospital again.  My pulmonary pressures are higher and I'm having a hard time breathing.  I had to sit up and try to sleep the past couple of nights even with my oxygen.  I had an echo this morning and will have the chest exray and ultrasound later.  They are going to try a couple of new meds before I go to Pittsburgh next week.  My heart has gotten very stiff now and it's hard for my heart to pump against the high pulmonary pressures.  I think I will have another right heart cath sometime this week while in the hospital.  I hope to atleast go home for the weekend.  We are going to the hospital in Pittsburgh next week for many many more tests.  They will update my score and see if I need to be moved up on the list or what. I hate being in the hospital - my boys have to be shuffled around. Donnie had to take Hunter to the doctor this morning because he has been running a fever for a couple of days.  He has a sinus infection.  I think Carter is the only one who hasn't been to the doctor lately. **Me,Donnie, the boys and my parents are flying to Pittsburgh next Monday.  I have my schedule and it's full for the week we are there.  I have to have a ct scan, and blood work everyday.  I have to do my PFC's (pulmonary function tests), 6 minute walk and so on.  I will also see the pulmonologist, social worker, cardiologist,transplant coordinator and the surgeon.  I see the same doctors every time so they can get to know me before the transplant.  I love all three transplant surgeons.  Anyway - we hope to come home Friday but it depends on the tests.  ** We will atleast get to go somewhere different for my birthday since we will be in Pittsburgh!  We are starting to know our way around.  The hotel shuttle knows us and they take us where ever we want to go.  The kids even have their favorite toy store there!  I'm tired and will TRY to sleep....

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10-28-06 - I'm home!  I got out late Friday.  I got most of the fluid out of my lungs.  I am in right and left heart failure now.  I have to go back in 1 week for an echo cardiogram.  My doctor wants to get an idea of what my pulmonary pressures are now.  I hope they have not gone up anymore. She changed some meds around and cut back on one to see if it helps. Now my inhaled medicine takes 3-4 minutes instead of 8-9 minutes - YEAH! **Anyway -I slept great last night in my own bed and no one waking me up every couple of hours.  I don't even remember getting in bed - I passed out. **Today my mom and dad came over to visit and help with the kids so Donnie and I could relax.  Donnie has been taking the kids to school in the mornings, visiting me, bringing the boys to see me, work and so on...... He also had to take Hunter to the doctor  about his allergies... He has not rested or had time to relax either.  We had 3 separate parties today but were unable to attend.  I just got home and still tired.  I physically could not get out anywhere today.  If I over do it, I will end up back in the hospital and I don't want that to happen. **Before I go- I wanted to say Thank You to Evalina for her thoughts and prayers.  She was the daughter-in-law of the patient next door to me at Emory.  We talked and visited with each other while there. She saw Hunter & Carter visiting me and the next day brought them a stuffed animal!  I wish her and her famiy the best!

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10-25-06 -  Just wanted to say hi.  I'm of course still in the hospital.  It looks like I may be here longer this time.  I saw my doctor again today and the IV medicine that usually works very well is doing NOTHING this time.  I'm still very short of breath and full of fluid.  They took an exray of my belly - she doesn't understand why my belly is still so distended. I haven't lost any of my fluid weight. My fluid is usually AROUND my heart and lungs not IN my lungs. I had a chest exray to look at my lungs.  She said it sounds like the fluid may actually be IN my lungs this time - it sounds full to her.  I will know tomorrow about that. She added a new med that I have never had before. It's supposed to work a different area of my kidneys or something to try and break down sodium and get rid of my fluid. I hope the fluid is not in my lungs.  **My mom and dad were here again all day.  I hate sitting up here by myself. * Donnie brought the boys to see me also.   They go straight to the ice machine every time.  They love the soft barrell ice they have. They both sat in the bed with me and watched cartoons. I wish I was going home with them tonight.  Oh well -I'm very tired and I am going to see if they will let me sleep tonight.  I fell asleep around 1:30am last night and they came in for bloodwork around 3:15am!  The blook work has to be back before the doctors start their rounds.  I was almost back asleep and in they came to weigh me and give me my IV diurectic about 5am.  I didn't really go back to sleep after that.

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10-24-06 - Hi.  I'm sorry I haven't posted in a week.  I have been very busy. Donnie had a 4 day weekend! We spent the whole weekend together. The boys spent the night with mama and pawpaw Friday night.  They both did great all week in school so they got to go to Chuck E. Cheese's Friday night. They had a blast.  Donnie and I went out for a quiet dinner and spent time with each other.  Saturday we had some new family pictures made.  I wanted to make sure I had a recent pictures of all of us incase I have to have my surgery soon.  The boys did great for the photographer.  We told them if they were good and smiled pretty we would take them bowling -  so, they went bowling for the first time.  We did the "cosmic" bowling.  Hunter got right up and rolled the ball and then he got to where he could sort of toss the ball.  Carter wasn't sure about it at first.  It was dark and very loud. He had just woke up.  After about 15 minutes he finally rolled the ball down the lane.  It took forever for the ball to get to the pins but it made it every time but once.  I of course didn't bowl - I sat with my oxygen and watched.  They had a blast.  We went home for the night after that.  I have hod a lot of fluid this week and have been very short of breath.  My parents came over Sunday and we ate together.  We were busy getting my oxygen and everything ready for the golf tournament on Monday.  Monday was great!  The tournament was a big success.  We had a full house and more people wanting to play than spaces.  **Thank you to Bill Mull, Steve Alexander, Bob Pierce and Angela Starnes for organizing the tournament**  Thanks to Donnie's parents, mine and all the volunteers and my friends-- Tammy Williams, Jana Whaley, Rachel Fortney, Missy and Jason Faklaris,my aunt Helen Chandler, my sister-in-law Natalie Poulk and anyone else!  **Thanks to Brookstone Country Club and all the sponsors who provided food, drinks, water, ice, snacks, beer and so on! Also thanks to anyone and all the companies that sponsored holes and the establishments who provided gift certificates, door pizes, trophies and more!  I can not personally thank each of you enough. **A big thank you to all the players who came out to play golf on an unusually cold day- this would not have been possible without all of you.  I hope I haven't left anyone out --- I'm sorry if so, I am stressed and not feeling well. I'm actually posting from Emory Hosital.  Unfortunatelly - I was admitted this morning and will probably be here until Thursday or Friday.  I hope I get out soon - I'm getting tired of this place.  Everyone on the 4th floor pretty much knows me all to well.  I'm always on this floor because it's the only floor with telemetry (heart monitors).  I love all the nurses and staff on this floor!  Well - I'm tired so I will "try to sleep" - I think they have to give me my second dose of IV diruretic around 2 or 3am - YUCK!  So much for rest.  I really MISS my BOYS!!!  I brought all our new family pictures with me so I could have them in my room.  I will post some below.  *And - I almost forgot -  I will try to have an entire page to post some pictures from the golf tournament ---  It may not be until I get out of the hospital, but I will post them.

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10-16-06 - Well I had a pretty good weekend.  Friday we went out to get a couple of things and ended up staying out most of the day.  We went to the mall without my mom or his. We had to get a wedding present. We(Donnie) ended up chasing the boys around.  I can't walk distance in the mall anymore so Donnie pushed me in the wheelchair. The boys walked(ran) beside us.  It turned out to be more work than fun. They don't make stores for wheelchairs at all.  We couldn't even get thru any aisles without knocking stuff off. Hunter and Carter were loose in the fine china area and we were constantly telling them not to touch.  They are very good boys - but by this point (like all men)-haha- they had enough of shopping. I finally called my mom to come rescue us.  Donnie and the boys went on home and me and my mom stayed and got a gift.  She pushed and I rode.  After she took me home, we all relaxed the rest of the night.** Saturday we stayed home all day. Later that evening my parents came over and they took the boys to their house to spend the night.  We had a wedding to attend.  It was someone Donnie went to high school with.  We really enjoyed it.  Our friends Alan and Jerilin had come down from South Carolina. We have not seen them in about a year and a half. Danny and Rach were there too. The threes couple stuck together and talked all night.**Sunday my mom came over and I slept late.  We went to ride and picked up some of my med refills.  Donnie cut the grass and did yard work when he got home.  The boys played outside on their swing-set.  Hunter has finally learned how to swing himself.  Carter is getting it - Hunter helps him.  They are so close and play so good together. I stayed in and worked on the computer and made more bracelets. ** Today I took Hunter to school and actually felt great!  I had to have my INR checked so I went for bloodwork, grabbed some breakfast and back home.  I paid bills, made appts. for the boys to get their flu shots, picture appointment and so on.  I got tons of stuff done that I had been putting off.  I don't worry about the little things anymore.  I just concentrate on my family, having a successfull surgery and enjoying life....

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10-11-06 - Hello. I've been feeling ok lately.  I just feel so tired and weak all the time.  I think a couple of my meds can cause this.  I'm still watching my coumadin level close.  I am going to get my blood work done tomorrow.  They usually fax it back to my doctor and they call and let me know about my levels.  I will either stay on the same dose or go up or down....   My mom was off on Monday (Columbus day). We did a couple of errands and came home.  I worked on my bracelets, keychains and lanyards. **Tuesday my friend Rachel came over and I showed her a couple of things about beading.  She is helping make more.  We are selling them for the benefit.  We should have them on a table at the golf tournament on the 23rd.**Today my mom came over this morning and got the boys ready and took them to school.  We both went to pick them up.  We grabbed some lunch and then we came home.  We watched the boys play outside.  They rode their scooters and kicked the soccer ball around.  I will rest all day tomorrow. I have to keep my feet up as much as possible also because of my veins in my legs.  I got the "spanks" or "teds" (compression hose or leggings) that I'm suppose to be wearing.  I will try them this week.  It is still too warm for me right now.  I would burn up in those things now! Anyway - time for bed.  I posted a couple of pics from the Appreciation Day at Six Flags!

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10-08-06 - Hi. I just wanted to let everyone know that I'm home from the hospital.  I actually was able to get out very late Wednesday night.  They wrote my discharge papers but then it was another 2hrs before I could actually leave.  I have to have a flu shot every year, so I had to wait to get mine before I left.  One less doctor visit this way.  Anyway- my fluid is much better now but the pain in my legs is still there.  Everytime I stand or hang my legs from my chair they feel heavy and swollen.  My doctor says it will probably get worse before better until my surgery when the pressures will be relieved.  I have to wear the compression hose for now to help until the transplant. ** Friday we spent the day doing what the boys wanted to do.  I missed them so much while at Emory. **Saturday was Cobb Co. Appreciation day and this year it was at Six Flags.  We went for the boys and let them run around and ride all the rides they were big enough for.  Donnie pushed me in my wheelchair all day and his parents helped with the boys. Hunter was excited also because he won a door prize in the drawings. *My Hunter actually rode the Scream Machine!!  He was tall enough and so he did. He has no fear. He would have rode again but the line was long. We were really only there for the smaller rides. Carter, of course rode the train and mini mine train.  His eyes were so big they looked like they were going to pop!  They were very tired at the end of the day. They walked the entire park all day.** Sunday my mom came over and I stayed in bed to rest.  Even though I was in the wheelchair all day I was still exhausted.  My brother John and his wife came by with Austin and Jayden. After everyone left Donnie and I sat down and watched a movie.  Oh - I almost forgot - the boys first school proofs came back.  I'll post a couple below. Goodnight!

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10-03-06 - Hi. Sorry I haven't posted in a while.  I actually haven't felt well lately.  I rested all day Thursday.  Friday my aunt Helen came to stay with us.  Donnie is usually off on Fridays but he had to work this one.  Helen was great.  She played with the boys all day inside and out on the swing set.  We went to grab lunch to get out.  The boys ate and played on the play set at Chick-fil-a. It was a beautiful day.  Saturday my mom and dad came over and watched the Georgia game with us.  Sunday we all stayed home all day.  Donnie was actually sick so my mom came over so he could get some rest.  Donnie doen't get sick (thank goodness) very often. I wasn't feeling well at all.  I had way too much fluid and was short of breath.  I called my doctor first thing Monday morning and since I was 7lbs or more over what I should be, she told me to get to Emory right away.  She told me to bring a bag in case she needed to admit me.  Sure enough she decided I had too much fluid on board and I was admitted after seeing her.  I've been here since Monday morning and they hope to have me out of here Thurday.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed.  I was upset because I was supposed to go on the boys first school field trip Tuesday to the pumpkin patch.  I was going to wait to call my doctor around 12n on Tuesday AFTER the field trip (I knew I would have to stay). She told me I did the right thing calling and seeing her on Monday.  I HOPE and PRAY I can leave by Friday to do what we had planned with the boys on Saturday.  It's Cobb County Appreciation Day and it's at Six Flags this year.  We are only going to see the boys ride and play in the kiddie area and for the picnic.  Donnie and I have no interest in the other parts.  I actually can no longer ride roller coasters because of my heart condition.  I just want to see my boys having fun.  Donnie's parents are going with us to help "push".  I obviously can't walk the park so Donnie will push me in my wheelchair and his parents will walk or push the boys in their stroller.  We are really on "hold" right now until the call and the surgery. We can't go more than 45min or so from home.  If Pittsburgh were to call us, we would have to get to the jet within 45min-1hr to get there in time.  We haven't been on vacation this year or gone to the lake house or beach this summer.  I hate that part of it.  After the surgery, once I am stable and back on my feet, I will be able to "walk" during vacation and actually do things with my boys again.  ** I'm very stressed in the hospital this time.  The nurses and other come in every morning around 4:30am for blood work and my weight check.  It's been NO REST this time.  I was up at 4:30a this morning and as soon as I sat back down and got comfortable, the "vitals" nurse came in for oxygen saturation, temp and blood pressure.  Once again I got settled, in came the doctors and interns or fellows to evaluate me.  After that, my mom was here very early and as soon as we both were settled - guess what? -- transportation was knocking on the door to take me downstairs for my ulstrasound of my leg veins.  By the time I got back to the room, lunch had arrived. On top of all this, my Iv entry site has bled all day - they have changed it about every few hours.  My coumadin levels were double what they should be and that is why I'm bleeding so easy.  The are holding my coumadin for a couple of days to get it back on track. Anyway - I could go on and on.  The best part of the day was when the kids came to see mommy.  Daddy had taken our video camera and surprised me with a video of the field trip I missed.  It was great.  Donnie's mother went with them to the pumpkin patch.  My dad arrived shortly after then my brother was behind him with Jayden. After everyone left and the nurses and everything slowed down - I finally settled for the night I hope (except for vitals). I will try and post again in the next day or so.  It's early for me right now to go to bed but I'm very tired.  I hope I sleep tonight.  I had about 2hrs last night.  Goodnight!

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9.27.06 - Hello. I've actually felt pretty good these past two days.  Tuesday I got up and took the kids to school.  It was picture day so I hope they did good.  I finally got to meet my friend Rachel after I dropped them off.  Once I got up, I felt pretty good so I met her for a couple of hours.  We went to a couple of stores and then got a burger for lunch.  I haven't met her the past 2-3 weeks with both of our schedules and me not feeling well.  We talked and got caught up on things.  I really enjoy getting out and meeting her.  It was the boys day to go to mama and pawpaw's. Mama picked them up from school and took them to her house and Donnie picked them up on the way home from work.  She usually keeps them on Tuesdays and Thursdays so I can rest. It also gives them a change of scenery and time to spend with family.  The other days of the week my mom tries to be here.  She still works full time but is with me sometimes 2 days a week.  ** Speaking of that, my mom was here with me today.  I stayed in bed late (to get rid of fluid).  After I got up, I felt really good.  We went to run some errands and then ate lunch.  She helped me get some groceries and things we had to have for the house.  I rode the cart of course. The boys always fight over who is going to ride with mommy on the cart.  They have to take turns.  Daddy got home and after dinner we played with the kids and helped them with their pre-k homework.  I wish all homework was as easy as coloring, cutting out shapes and making finger puppets!

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9.25.06 - Hi, I haven't felt like or really had quiet time to get on the computer this week.  It has been a week of doctor visits, and so on. I still have the bad pain in my leg but it has moved from my ankle to my leg.  My cardiologist wanted me to have the ultrasound re-done to make sure again it wasn't a blood clot.  So Wednesday we went to Tanner near me so I wouldn't have to drive all the way to Emory for just a test.  We waited almost an hour just to go back.  Once I went back, I was there an aditional 1 1/2 -2 hrs.  By the way, Wednesday was Donnie's only off day this week and we were going to do something with the kids.  They got impatient at the hospital so Donnie took them outside for a little bit.  Thank goodness no clot, but still a mystery as to why I had the pain.  I was sent to an orthopedic doctor Thursday.  They did another exray, and of course nothing.  He said I had superficial phlebitis.  Superficial thrombophlebitis (superficial phlebitis) is inflammation and clotting in a superficial vein.  All I really can do is keep my leg elevated and a heat pad on it.  It's actually much better today.  Anyway - after the doctor visit I stopped at one store and then went home.  Thursday, Donnie's mom and dad kept the kids and they were at the house with them when I returned.  My mom was off Friday to help me out.  I stayed in bed late to let my diurectics work.  We went and got out of the house for a little bit.  She took us to eat lunch and then we went to Target for a few everyday things. I ride the cart in stores like that and the boys usually fight over who is going to help mommy drive.  We went by my mom and dad's house for a little bit.  Donnie had to work late Friday so my mom stayed with me and help put the kids to bed. **Saturday we stayed home during the day and watched some of the Georgia game.  Go DAWGS !  The boys spent the night at nana and papa's so Donnie and I could go out to eat.  We haven't gone to the movies or out to eat alone in a very very long time.  One reason is because we always miss the boys too much and end up talking about them.  They stayed and we had a very quiet dinner together.  It was good.  **Donnie was off Sunday this week.  After we picked the boys up that morning we came home and stayed all day.  No running around doing errands and stuff.  It was nice, we all spent time together and played trains with the boys. ** Today my mom was going to come over at 12n to help me get the boys from school and help the rest of the day.  I woke up and just couldn't get out of bed.  I kinda had an anxiety attack or close too it.  I was on edge all night and my mind racing like it has before.  I couldn't consentrate on reading or anything.  I tried to sleep but couldn't.  We are still working on my anxiety med dosage to keep it right.  I feel like I have short term memory loss.  I will read and then by the next page or so I have forgotten what I read..... I will try to help the boys with their bible verse for school and I can repeat it once and then I can not remember it.  I know the verses from my days in church. Very strange to me. I think some of my meds can cause short term memory loss .  I will double check with my doctor to see what she says.  ANYWAY -  Mom ended up coming over to take them to school for me.  I stayed in bed until 3p or so.  I caught up on the no sleep at all from last night.  Maybe I'll sleep tonight.  It's picture day at school tomorrow so I must get up earlier to take my time and make sure they look great for the pictures....  Goodnight!   Here's a couple of pics of the boys playing with the nieghbors. They love that jeep.  Santa brought it 2 years ago!

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9.18.06 - Hello! I have really relaxed the past few days.  Saturday we met my parents for a short while.  I didn't feel like walking, so my mom pushed me in my wheelchair and daddy pushed the boys in the stroller.  We have to have two "pushers" when we go to the mall or anything like that. Poor daddy cannot push the kids AND mommy. Sometimes I walk with my oxygen but even the small tank gets heavy. **Sunday my mom came over and I stayed in bed late to get my rest.  She watched the kids play outside. When daddy got home we all ate and played together. Hunter brought "crush" home from school to take care of this weekend.  His class is called the "Teriffic Turtles".  He had to bring him along with us all weekend.  We had to write in the journal and tell what he did with him.  I took a couple of pictures of Hunter & Crush playing his game boy and sleeping in his bed. **Monday Hunter dressed himself (I helped tie his shoes) for school.  I dropped him off and Carter and I read books and played at home until time to go het him.  Carter thinks he got out of school for the day.  He goes Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  Hunter goes Monday-Thursday.  My mom came over around 12n and we picked up Hunter at school.  She took me to run some errands.  I waited in the car while she ran in a couple of stores for me.  I don't know what I would do without my family and friends during this time.  Everyone has been wonderful. * My throat is actually better since going to the ENT.  The doctors hope after my transplant surgery I will be able to talk normal again.  My pulmonary artery is dilated right now and that's why my left vocal cord is paralized. It's putting pressure on my cord.  **Today Donnie took the boys to school and then went in to work.  My mother-in-law picked them up from school.  She took them to McDonald's to meet pawpaw and play inside for a little bit.  I stayed home all day to rest.  Donnie is off tomorrow and I wanted to be able to maybe go out and do something. Hopefully since I rested today we can get out!  ** I really appreciate all the cards and letters.  I'm keeping all my cards and well wishes in a scrapbook to take to Pittsburgh with me when we get the call.  I will have some encouraging words to look back on while I recover out of town.   * Below is a picture of Hunter with crush! And the boys playing with the neighbors.

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9.15.06 - Hi again,  I would have posted sooner but my internet service was down.  Anyway, Tuesday we ended up watching the transplant story in the Emory ER.  I have had a knot and pain in my foot and leg.  Since I have been sitting and resting more, the doctors thought it may be a blood clot so I had to go to Emory and have an ultrsound right then and make sure.  If it had been a clot, I would have had to be admitted and treated.  I'm on blood thinners so it's possible my level was off.  Luckily it wasn't! I did also have an exray to see if it was a stress fracture because of my thin bones...wasn't that either.  We think it's just a pinched nerve in my back or something because it is now hurting only when I sit or stand a certain way and I have sharp pains in my back.  Anyway -  As we were in the ER watching the news, the couple beside us noticed it was US on the news and we started talking.  Turns out that the guy is 10 years out from his heart transplant and his mother is 24 years out.  Hearing stuff like that always makes me feel better about the life expectancey length after transplant. He said his first two years were tough, with a few rejections and an infection, but after that, all has basically been very normal. By the way, he was also there for about 5 hours.  My mom had taken me and the kids around 3pm and Donnie met us there.  By eight o'clock, the boys were getting restless so my mom took them to our house, gave them a bath and put them to bed.  Donnie and I did not get home until 1am.  Poor Donnie had to get up and go to work the next morning, ** My mom came over Wednesday and took the kids to school and picked them up.  We stayed home the whole day after that. ** Jill, my mother-in-law, came over Thursday morning to take the boys to school and then came back to my house and helped me out by doing some housework.  I really appreciate everything she does.  She picked the boys up at 12n and took them back to her house.  She likes to keep them atleast one day a week so her and pawpaw can spend time with them.  It also gives them a change of scenery. The main reason today was I had a doctor appointment at the ENT (ear,nose,throat).  Most of you know from talking to me on the phone or in person, but because of my heart condition, my left vocal cord is paralized.  Lately, I haven't been able to really talk at all. The ENT numbed my nose and throat to put a tube up my nose and down to my vocal cord.  It's an awefull test! YUCK.  It turns out I am straining my only cord that is working. He also thinks one of the problems is acid reflux and drainage....Long story short, I added three more meds to my current 18-20 everyday so I figured, what's 3 more right? My wonderful husband took his lunch break to meet me there so he could push me in the wheelchair.  It's a long walk from the parking deck. ** Today we ran one errand and stayed home and did NOTHING for a change.  It was nice.  It was cooler this morning and evening so we stayed outside and let the boys play all day.  They love riding their scooters, tricycle and playing t-ball.  We can have another relaxing day tomorrow...nothing we HAVE to do!

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9.11.06 - Hello.  I know a few days have gone by but I haven't been on my computer lately. Thursday was a good day.  My mom came over after lunch to help me out once again.  Carter was kinda sick Friday, so he didn't go to school.  I think he would have had a hard time staying without me today anyway.  The boys spent the night with mama and pawpaw Friday night.  Donnie had to work and I had been invited to a womens conference (program) at Pickett's Mill Baptist Church.  Tammy's in-law's Beth and Pat attends that church. They had invited me as a guest of honor for that night.  We had a great steak dinner.  I believe the pastor and associate pastor and others prepared the meal.  Each table had a table captain.  They had to provide the dishes, silverware, table cloth, decorations and etc for their table.  Beth did a wonderful job. Each captain had placed a small gift at each seat of their table.  Beth gave our table angels holding hearts (for me).  It was so sweet.  My friend Tammy had to get up in front of everyone (with a microphone) and tell my story and why they had invited me.  She's a talker all right, but she was very nervous speaking in front of a group.  She did a wonderful job.  After the dinner we heard a speaker named Diane.  She was also wonderful.  After the service, Tammy and I sat at a table in the lobby and put out the golf flyers and info.  They also wanted me to bring my bracelets to put them out.  We sold most all of the ones I brought.  I want to thank Picketts Mill Baptist Church, Beth and Tammy Williams and all the other women who attended.  I really enjoyed getting out.  I hope I am able to come visit more often.  I wanted to also thank Kelly for spending time talking to me.  I truly appreciate the warm welcome.  ** Saturday we stayed around the house most of the day.  We met my mom and dad later that afternoon for a little bit. **Sunday my mom came over and helped with the house cleaning. We went for a ride for one errand and then home. **Today Donnie took Hunter to school then dropped Carter with his mom.  She picked Hunter up from school and them took them back to her house. They took them to Kennesaw Mountain Park to see all the flags and take some pictures. I stayed in bed until after lunch trying to keep fluid from building up again.   ** Beth Galvin from Fox 5 News called and said they ARE running our story tomorrow Sept. 12th during the 5-6p news.

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9.6.06 - Well, I made it taking the boys to school these first two days.  Donnie stayed home an extra hour or so to help me the first day.  He wanted to make sure I would not over do it just helping them get dressed, breakfast and off to school.  Hunter had a good first day.  It was his day to bring snack for his class.  You get to be line leader and helper for the day.  Carter actually stayed the entire time.  His teacher called after we got home and said he cried on and off about 45min or so.  They took him upstairs to see that his big brother was still there and he had not left him too.  After the crying spell he jumped right in and played with all the others.  He's still not sure about it but he will get used to it I hope.  My mom came over after lunch so I could rest.  I had to get our car to the shop for brakes,  she came over so we would have a car if needed.  We went to McDonalds and let the boys play inside in the play house.  I was very anxious and depressed most of the day - just one of those days....crying and everything. Today mama and pawpaw picked them up from school and took them to their house so I could get rid of fluid (of course). I was lonely without the boys - it was tooooo quiet.  Remind me I said that next time they are screaming. Ha  Anyway - mama and pawpaw brought them home and we had spaghetti for dinner.  She had made it at her house and brought some of her sauce so I wouldn't have to cook.  Thanks!  
**I'm still writing thank you notes, so please be patient with me.  I am still overwhelmed by all the generosity from each and every one.  THANKS!  I've gotten so many emails of support also.  Please know I appreciate all the thoughts and prayers.  I must spend lots of time with my family also because we never know when that "call"  could come.  They along with everyone else has kept me going and I thank you!

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9.04.06 - I'm so sorry I haven't posted earlier than now.  Truthfully, I haven't wanted to be on the computer at all this week.  I took a break from doing bills and updates this week.  We have spent time with our family.  Donnie's mother kept the boys Wednesday and I rested and worked on my bracelets and scrapbooks.  My mom came over Thursday, because of course, I had extra fluid and needed to stay seated and not chase the boys or get up and down.  She helped me get the boys ready for open house at the church where they are going to pre k. As soon as Donnie got home from work we went to meet their teachers.  I know Hunter will be ok when he starts (he went two days a week last year) but this will be Carter's first time.  I have never left them anywhere but with family - keep your fingers crossed that they don't cry too bad. We stayed at home all day Friday.  I had to rest because I knew we had two parties to try and go to and a labor day picnic to attend. I can't be on the go for 2 days or more without rest in between activities.  Saturday we went to our friends little girl's birthday party and visited with them and their family. I wasn'y really full of fluid, just exhausted and felt like I could sleep for days.  After that party we went to my parents house for my dad's birthday.  He opened his gifts and had cake. Sunday my mom and dad came over to play with the boys.  I stayed in bed very late and was planning on going to my friend Rachel's family picnic at Lake Allatoona but I just couldn't make it. I had been out all day Saturday and that night and needed to rest.  I was upset because we couldn't make it.  Another couple we all get together with sometimes was going to be there we had not seen in a while.  They moved to South Carolina and we don't get to see them that often.  Maybe next time...
*Today I stayed in bed late and then went to the mall with my mom.  I don't think I've been to the mall but once or twice since January (compared to every week or month) haha.  We can't go without another adult because someone has to push the boys in the double stroller and someone must push me around in my wheelchair.  I can't walk distances at all anymore so I have the wheelchair when I need it.  I enjoyed just riding around the mall while my mom pushed.  Donnie took the boys to the store with him.  Later, we went to eat with Donnie's parents. The boys were excited to see them.
*Tomorrow is a big day for the boys!  I hope the first day of school goes well for both of them. I will have to see if I will be able to get them ready and to school every morning.  Donnie must get their clothes, shoes, book bag and everything ready the night before. I will not be able to do that stuff in the morning by myself and get them to school.  I think I will be able to do it. The boys can fully dress themselves except for tying their tennis shoes.  They can get up in their car seats by themselves so I don't have to lift them.  Since the school has car pool (the teachers get the kids out and take them to class) I don't have to get out and take them upstairs to their class.  I don't know what I would do if they didn't have car pool since I can't really do stairs.  It sounds easy enough - so I will see tomorrow and let you know.   You don't realize how much energy simple things like that take until you have none..

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8.29.06 - Well I managed to stay away from Emory. I was able to get back down to my normal weight today. *We stayed home all weekend so I could rest.  When I am full of fluid my diruretics will not work the way they should if I'm moving at all.  I know that sounds weird, but it's true. Even lifting my arms above my hips uses energy.  I must say I don't feel as short of breath with the fluid this time like I usually do, but I sure look bloated.  My face is breaking out under and around my nose and on the side. It burns alot and is very red.  I'm sure it's my oxygen tube making it break out.  It's the only place on my face that is like this. If it doesn't get better I will have to go to the doctor it's so bad.  I have called my home health care provider and asked them to send a new tube to see if that helps.  *Friday and Saturday we stayed at home and enjoyed the weekend. My dad was off Friday and he worked hard on the fundraising stuff. He visited many places and got some more sponsors for the golf tournament.  Love my dad!  My mom came over Sunday and we went to ride to get out of the house.  We went by her house to see my dad for a little bit. The boys played with papa's trains the whole time. Donnie worked in the yard Sunday after he got home.  I STILL have fluid and will have to go in on Monday to have it taken off by IV meds. **  Monday the boys went to mama's for the day.  I stayed in bed or on the couch all day.  I actually got rid of the fluid.  I felt really good the rest of the day.  I was so excited I wouldn't be going to the hospital this time.  I was worried if I went in today or tomorrow that I might miss open house at the church. They start the pre-school program at New Georgia Baptist next week. They are excited.  Hunter went a couple days a week last year so he is used to it. The first day I dropped Hunter off last year, the teacher did call and say he was crying for mommy.  He said he thought I left him and was not coming back.  After the first week he was fine.  Carter being the mama's boy that he is will have to get used to it I'm sure.  I haver never left them anywhere or with anyone except their grandparents.  I hope he likes it. **Tonight I worked on some of my green bead bracelets.  The green is the color of the transplant ribbon pin and donor awareness.  I was making them for family but everyone that sees them wants one so I'm now making many more.   My friends said we should sell them as part of the fundraising.  Everyone thinks we should even sell them at the golf benifit! I'm making a few purple ones for PH (pulmonary hypertension) which is the disease I now have. I may make red (heart disease) or (heart health) ones also.  Making the bracelets has been  therapeutic for me. I usually make them after the boys go to bed. *Speaking of that - back to the beads....Ha

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8.24.06 - Well so far so good on staying out of the hospital.  I have still been 4-6lbs over with my fluid.  I've really only been at full rest the past 3 days trying to get rid of it on my own.  I talked to my doctor today and she said if I wasn't feeling much better to come to Emory.  Today was actually a very good day. I'm rid of all the extra fluid except for about 1lb and she said that's ok, but if it comes back this weekend I must come to Emory by Monday to get everything balanced out again. It's usually just 2 nights or so but I still hate being away from the boys.  My aunt Helen came over Tuesday for the day.  The kids were excited to see her.  She had baked cookies again and also brought some fruit.  Like everyone else that's helped us out, she took us out for lunch and later went the grocery store for me. That night mama and pawpaw came over for a visit and brought dinner for us! Wednesday the boys went to mama and pawpaw's for the day because I had to stay rested.
* Like I said earlier, I actually had a great day today.  My mom was over and she took us out for the day.  I had to get tags for the cars and stuff like that.  I stayed in the car with the kids and she ran in a few places for me.  After lunch she took us to Chuck E. Cheeses and the boys had a great time.  There were only about 3 other families there so we basically had the whole place to ourselves.  After all that we went to pick up my nephew for my brother so my mom could watch him for a couple of hours.  He loves watching Hunter and Carter play. I put a picture of him below. We got home later and I of course had to sit for the night so I wouldn't over do it.  I will see how my fluid is in the morning.  Donnie and I will enjoy this weekend with the boys.  For the first time in a long time, we do not have ANYTHING we HAVE to do.  We hope to sleep in and enjoy not having any plans.  No early calls or else!   Ha Ha just kidding.....

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8.20.06 - Hi everyone. Sorry I haven't posted in a few days. We've been busy. Wednesday Donnie came home at lunch to help with the kids.  After I got some rest we played games and colored together. We had a great night together.  I've actually been feeling much better lately. Thursday the kids went to play at mama and pawpaw's.  I had a doctor's appointment to get my 2nd hep b shot. I'll have one more in 5 months and that will be it!  I met Rachel for a quick lunch and then home to make some phone calls. My mom's office was also busy again Thursday with a fundraiser.  They had a pizza and wing lunch and it went very well.  Earlier in the week Fox 5 news called and they are doing a story about the transplant and the fundraising that's going on.  They went to my mom's building and filmed the lunch. They also interviewed my mom one on one. She said she was so nervous.  Jeannie was also interviewed because she started the whole fundraising process at my mom's office. I was so surprised when the news reported said she was coming to my house to talk to us about our story.  Beth Galvin, who is the HealthWatch reporter for Fox 5 News came to our house Friday. She and the gentleman with her were very nice and patient with us. They filmed so much but they also talked to us for a while.  She was very interested in our story. She didn't rush through anything or push us because of time at all.  I felt very comfortable with her. She talked to me one on one first and then with Donnie.  My mom was here with the kids outside while they were talking to us.  After that the kids came in and they filmed us playing with them. They were here for a few hours. Before leaving they said they would let us know when the story would air.  She hopes it will be on in the next week or so. She will let me know a couple of days prior.  I will post it also.  I love taking pictures and videos but I do not like myself in either!
*Anyway - Thursday was Natalie's (brother's wife) birthday.  I didn't get a chance to see her or my brother and their baby yet. I'll try to go see them this week.  - Saturday we stayed home all day. My mom and dad came by to visit for a little while. They boys played with them and then Donnie and I helped the boys paint a couple of suncatchers and played trains and stuff  like that. Today my mom came over and I stayed in the bed late to get rid of some fluid.  I haven't had much lately until today.  I was about 5lbs over so as usual I took extra diuretics.  I didn't get rid of it all so I will try again tomorrow morning.  I hope it comes off because if it doesn't I will have to go to Emory for a night or so and have it done by IV.  Pray I don't have to do that again.  It's so boring in the hospital. You don't get ANY rest. Well I will go for now. We are watching the kids wrestle and roll around in the living room.  They are being giggle boxes right now and I love it!  Kids are the best!!!

I was going to stay in bed and catch up on my sleep. I later woke up and looked at the clock and I could not believe it was 5:15pm.  I knew I was tired, but I had no idea I would sleep that long.  I thought maybe it was 12n or so when I woke up, I never even woke up once until 5:15p. I guess you could say I'm caught up now.  I felt really good when I did get up. I cooked something small for dinner and played with the kids the rest of the night. Today my mom came over to help with some phone calls, paper work, errands, and of course entertaining and playing ref with the boys.  We had to make calls to my insurance company, my doctor for my next Hep B shot and next appointment at Emory. We also have gotten all the cards together to start writing and mailing thank you cards. We don't want to wait to long and get behind. She also did some laundry for me! Gotta love MOM! After that we let the boys play outside since it wasn't so hot today.  They love riding their scooters. I have also received several cards and letters.  Thank you for your thoughts and prayers! 

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8.13.06 - Hello again. I've had a few great days until today.  Thursday was Donnie's birthday and we had a great night. My parents came over that night and we ordered pizza then had pizza and cake.   Friday we did some errands and then had a burger with some friends.  I am changing some of my meds around for my anxiety and tension so I felt crazy all day.  The one I'm on now has been making me shaky and feeling like I'm doing everything in fast foward.  I've cut it in half and will slowing stop taking it so I can start another one. The two cannot be taken together, so for now I'll have to deal with my anxiety and wanting to cry everyday for now until I can start the new med.  I'm still not sleeping well either. I've always been one who as soon as I lay down for bed my mind races with to do lists and worrying about what I need to do, who to call, my next doctor appt and so on... it seems to be never ending stress for me. *Anyway - Saturday we went to the train show in Norcross with my parents.  Do you actually think my boys would miss anything to do with trains?  I think their daddy and papa had just as much fun.  I walked around with my oxygen for a little bit then Donnie got my wheelchair out and pushed me the rest of the time. The place was big so I decided to ride. Today my mom came over like always. I had about 4lbs of fluid this morning so I had to take the "booster" again. I didn't quite get rid of it all so I'll have to do the same in the morning if I'm still over.  I have to watch my fluid very close. I must weigh myself every morning to see how much diuretics I need to take that day.  After Donnie got home from work, we went to his parents for his birthday dinner. I cheated on my sodium diet and ate Lasagna but not too much. I could tell I still had fluid so we didn't stay too long after dinner.  When I came home I had an email from one of my best friends from Thomasville.  It made my night!  Thanks again to everyone for your prayers and cards.  I really enjoy hearing from everyone.

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8.05.06 - Hello again! I guess I'll start with Thursday. The boys went to the Georgia Aquarium for the first time with their grandparents. They had a blast. They talked about it all night. As for me, I rested all day and really missed the boys. It was so quiet without them. I was kinda sad by myself. I did work on some photo albums and a scrapbook. * Donnie's off days are Friday & Saturday. Friday we did some errands early and then we stayed home that day and we just stayed home. I still did not sleep at all Sunday night either. I stay so stressed and my muscles stay so tense that it's very hard for me to relax to get some sleep. I even take something that used to work to help me sleep but seems to have no effect on me now. Donnie worked half a day on Monday so he could come home and watch the kids. I tried to take a nap but still could not sleep. The boys played outside in the water hose and sprinkler. Tuesday I was supposed to meet Rachel for our usual lunch but did not go. I was still so tired and just wanted to stay home and rest. I also knew that I had a doctor's appointment Wednesday at Emory and would have to be up and out that day. Tuesday ended up being one of those days when all I could do was think first thing Hunter said was "did you get your new heart?" He's so funny - Everytime I go to the doctor now he thinks I'm going to get my new heart and lungs. Donnie and I have explained to them that when it's time for mommy to get her new heart we will all get on a plane and go back to the place we did in December.about my kids and the surgery. Even though I take something to help me, I still cried some that day on and off and I couldn't control it this time. That night a young lady named Missy called to talk to me. She is one of Dr. Book's patients at Emory also and she has had a heart transplant. She is 5 years out of her surgery. We talked a while and she told me how much better she felt after having the transplant. She didn't really want to be listed at first, like me I guess. I had mentioned to her that I was going to be at Emory Wednesday and she said she would like to meet me if she could. She lives close to the hospital. When I arrived for my appointment today she was there in the waiting room ready to meet me. She looked amazing. If she had not told me she was a tranplant patient I would have never guessed. She showed me pictures of how she looked while in the hospital waiting on her organ. She doesn't look like the same person. She was very little, white(pale) and looked sick on the day of her transplant. She now looks as healthy as any normal person could look. She can run now and pick up her nieces and nephews and she couldn't before. It was great talking to her. It really helps talking to people that have been through it already. We are going to keep in touch definitely. *I saw Dr. Book today at Emory and she actually said I looked very good today. My neck veins were down, I looked "pinker" than I usually do and she said I didn't look full of fluid like I am most of the time. I told her my inhaled med that I have to do every 3hrs with the new smaller I-Neb machine was actually making me cough after the treatment and made me feel even more out of breath than my usual. I thought she was going to say I was crazy but in fact she didn't. She said I was the fourth patient with PPH on Ventavis that has said the same thing about the smaller machines. Anyway - long story short, we are trying to get the old bigger(non portable) machine back. It seems to dispense the medicine better and more acurate is what the doctors are thinking. The small battery powered hand held one doesn't seem to be delivering the medicine like it should. It's making me, someone who already has a hard time breathing, work even harder to get through a treatment. So I'll start using the old machine and see if it makes a difference when they find one. The company I'm with doesn't make the meds anymore for that particular machine because all the patients had been switched to the new smaller(portable,better) one. So we will have to work on getting the old ones back. I got out of Emory kinda late so I'll go get my monthly blood work done tomorrow. Everyone from my doctor, nurse, secretary, to the ladies who sign me in are all very sweet and caring. They all asked how I was and about my kids. They are a wonderful group of people and I love Emory! * After that my mom and I grabbed something to eat and then went home. Donnie and the kids were at the door waiting on me when I got home.

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8.02.06- Well I guess I can say that I have felt ok the past few days. Monday the boys went to grandma's house and she took them swimming with uncle Jason. They had a great time. I hate that I can't really take them myself, but I can't breathe in this heat. I was able to meet my friend Rachel for our usual lunch. We try to meet once a week or every other week. It depends on how I'm feeling. She stays home with her little girl so she is usually available to meet me and let me talk or whatever. Some days we talk about the surgery and sometimes we don't. Oh and can you believe I actually had her be-lated birthday gift but forgot to take it with me. Better luck with the memory next time we meet. After lunch we went to our usual christian book store and I got a new cute small bible to take with me to Pittsburgh when I do get the call. It will fit in the small bag I have ready. After that I decided to get home and not push it. I talked to my transplant coordinator at UPMC for an update. We have to talk every 2-3weeks while waiting on the list. She just has to know if I've changed any meds, had a fever, in the hospital, stuff like that. I will have to return to UPMC in November for my 6 month update if I don't get the "call" before then. I still see my doctor at Emory every month. I have to go to UPMC to update my score. Long story but basically my status, meaning am I better, worse, do I need to be moved up on the list or am I better and can be moved to "inactive" on the list. ** My mom came over Tuesday around lunch. Our water was going to be off 9a-3p for new construction in the neighborhood. I stayed in bed and got my rest for the day. When I got up, we did our usual routine and went for a ride and got something to eat with the boys. We always go by the railroad tracks to see if we can catch a train for my obsessed little boy Carter. They both really love trains, but Carter's eyes light up at the sound or sight of a train. His entire room at home is a train theme - imagine that. Hunter like his sports room. He has bunk beds and they love playing in there. Oh and today the boys went to a birthday party while over at my mother-in-law's house. They had another great time, it was a pirate pool party. I actually got out and went to have my hair cut and highlighted. I wore my oxygen but I made it by myself. I really like the guy that does my hair. We actually talked about the transplant. One of the managers of the salon had a heart transplant almost 6 years ago. He is doing great from what I hear. Anyway - we are trying to have a family portrait done in the next week or so. After that I met Donnie at his mom's and ate dinner with everyone there. His mom cooked a great meal. I felt kinda heavy (fluid) this evening so I will take more diuretics and go to bed early.

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7-30-06 - We actually did better Friday. I want to thank the nice lady from Villa Rica who so kindly stayed and spoke with me for about 1/2hr and said she would pray for me and my family. After picking up about $5 worth of things, she and her husband began to leave. As I looked up again, I noticed they were backing up. She got out and said she wanted to do more for me. She graciously gave a donation for the trust fund. I was overwhelmed by the caring gesture made by her and her husband. Another gentleman came by with his granddaughter and also started chatting. He said he saw a picture of our family up at his church and they had all been praying for me. It's so wonderful knowing so many people are praying for us. We are very blessed by all. ** My friend Tammy came over Saturday with her 4 year old daughter to visit. They played together and had so much fun. She stayed and helped my sweet husband clean up the yard sale mess. Donnie has been working his tail-end off for this. I'm not able to lift or move anything. He has done it ALL. I don't know what I would do without him. He's always, always been by my side. Every time I'm in the hospital, he's there. He was there during my pregnancy when I was so sick and couldn't breathe. He's there carrying my oxygen tanks, pushing me in the wheelchair if we go to the mall or anything like that. All this and still taking very good care of the kids with me. ** Love to Donnie ! ** Anyway- Tammy brought lunch for us and the kids. She cleaned up and helped with some other things I needed to do. We've know each other almost 20 years. She was the very 1st person I met when I moved here from Thomasville. After she left I rested the rest of the day. I still feel so tired. ** My mom came over today. I stayed in bed trying to get my fluid off for the day. I didn't get up until around 2p. I was back down to my "dry" weight. She took us for a ride and to get some lunch. ** Love to mom and dad **

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7.28.06 - Sorry I haven't posted in a few days. We or (Donnie) were getting ready for a yard sale fundraiser. We had alot of stuff we could sale since we recently moved. I have been very very tired this week. I felt like I could sleep for weeks and not get enough rest. I actually stayed home with the boys by myself Tuesday. They were very good but I realized once again that I am blessed to have help most everyday now. My mom came over around 12n Wednesday & Thursday. She took us for a ride and to get some ice cream. I love it when she comes over. Today I stayed inside while Donnie sat outside for the yard sale. I went out every other hour or so but the heat made it hard to breathe. The neighborhood kids came over and played on the boys slip-n-slide and small pool to keep them occupied for daddy. They had a great time. They were so worn out, they went to bed early. We are doing the yard sale again tomorrow.

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7-27-06 - I had lunch with Rachel on Tuesday. We talk about everything with each other. She's been a great friend before and during all of this. My mom came over today and we all went to my doctors office to have my bloodwork done. They are checking my pt/inr (blood thinner) and I have to have my liver enzymes checked every month for one of the meds I take. It can damage your liver if not taken correctly. We also went to Target to get some travel size things to pack our bags we have to have ready now in case I get the call. My mom, husband and myself have been on the phone arranging everything from insurance papers, legal papers, medical clearance letter, and bills (while living in Pitt). We also are working on where we are going to live/stay the 2-3 months after the surgery. Still a bit to do....

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7-24-06 - Jill, one of my other best friends from Thomasville came this weekend.  She brought her little boy, Griffin.  We had a great time and looked at old pictures and talked about old times.  Below are a couple of pictures from the weekend.

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7.20.06 - Today the boys were at my mother-in-laws. She helps out alot and likes to keep the boys when she can for a change of scenery. I hate that I can't really go anywhere with them by myself. I have to have someone with me to help get the boys in/out of the car and stroller or shopping cart. I also can not lift grocery bags or anything like that. We pretty much stay in the house. If it's not to hot outside, I can sit in the shade and let them play outside.....I needed to get out of the house today and I felt good enough, so I met my friend Rachel for lunch. She has a beautiful little girl who came with us today. As we were eating I realized that I missed Rachel's birthday - shame on me. It was over the 4th of July weekend and I wasn't feeling good at all that weekend. There's no excuse for what I had done but I guess it's all the stress and making sure we have everything ready for when I get the call to Pittsburgh. We still have lots of things to get in order before going to Pittsburgh for a few months. * I will make it up to her ! She's a great friend ! Anyway - We went to Target for a quick minute and I rode the cart with the basket because I can't walk distances without getting very short of breath. I take my o2 with me also. I still get looks from people like I'm riding this thing for the fun of it. I can tell they are thinking -"She doesn't need that or she doesn't "look" sick - she's too young and so on. I've gotten over what people think because I know I need it ! I came home after that to rest, I don't want to push my luck. I have passed out a couple of times in the past by over doing it. I've learned just how much I can do before I have to sit for the day. I laid on the couch the rest of the day and caught up on my soaps.- I didn't feel well at all this morning. I was more than 2 lbs over my normal weight so I had to take additional meds. If I get more than the 2 lbs, I must take hydrochlorothiazide, a "booster" pill 30 minutes prior to my normal diurectics. It increases the amount of water and salt you lose in your urine and decreases edema (swelling or fluid retention). I was just 3 1/2 lbs over, but just that little bit makes it hard to breathe. My aunt Helen was the "sitter" for the day. I stayed in bed until about 2pm getting rid of the fluid. I felt much better after that. Helen was great! She brought fruit, watermelon, hotdogs and cookies for us. When Donnie got home we all ate dinner and played together all night.

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7.19.06 - Well, other than Monday I've felt really good this week. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law came to get the boys to take them swimming. They loved that. I rested all day. I haven't been sleeping very well at all. I met my friend Rachel played games with the kids. The boys stayed at nana & papa's house that evening. When we were leaving Hunter asked if I was going to the hospital again. I explained to him that mommy & daddy were just going to dinner with some friends. We met our friends Danny and Rachel later that night. I finally gave Rachel her birthday gift. Today we took the boys to a new train store on the other side of Atlanta. Donnie's birthday is Thursday and we went ahead and got the other train set he wanted to complete our model train layout. The boys LOVE trains also so it's something great we can all work on as a family together. We love making new scenery and things like that. My dad also has a model train set. He loves trains too. His dad worked for the railraod when he was growing up. *Anyway, before I go I wanted to say thank you to everyone again for their prayers, cards and messages. They mean alot to me. Also to Jeannie and everyone at my moms office for organizing the fundraisers again! Thank you to my in-laws and Melissa who have been working on the golf tournament and other fundraising efforts. Our family appreciates it very much. We have been very blessed by all. * Here are a couple of pictures from this weekend! Goodnight.

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7.16.06 - I have had a great weekend. I felt ok but the great part was that Laurie, one of my very best friends I've known since kindergarten came to see me. She lives in my home town of Thomasville, Georgia. I moved to the Atlanta area before my junior year in high school. We are like sisters. Me, Laurie and Jill are still the best of friends. I miss them, but we visit every year or so somehow. We looked at old pictures and talked about our crazy days in school. We think just alike. We all have kids now and believe it or not we all three have boys. Laurie and I have two and Jill has one. I hope we will still be this close when we are old grannies ! Hee Hee Here's a picture of me and Laurie from this weekend ! I took my O2 off for the picture.


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7.12.06- Hi everyone ! I'm feeling much better since getting out of the hospital. I did have to go in again to get a Hep B shot. It's a three dose series. They tested me in Pittsburgh and I guess I never had that shot when I was younger. I have two more to go. I have to have them before my transplant. I also go back next week for my bloodwork. I usually go once a month, but they had to change my dose of coumadin (blood thinner) so I have to go once a week until the level gets back to where it should be. I want to thank everyone for their prayers and well wishes. I love hearing from everyone. It makes me feel better if I'm having a bad day. I also want to thank any and everyone for their donations and hard work. Thanks to everyone in my mom's office and Jeannie for organizing the bake sale, it was a big success !

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7.10.06- Well, I got to come home Friday the 7th. A little earlier than I expected. I was bored in the hospital with no computer. I didn't get any rest while there. I couldn't leave the floor to take a walk because of the heart monitor I have to wear every time I'm there. I got rid of about 8lbs of fluid around my heart and lungs. I can tell a huge difference in my breathing now. I was able to rest at home yesterday so I feel better. Today is my mom's birthday and we will go see her and my family tonight.

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7.5.06 - I'm still feeling really bad today. I have taken my diurectics but nothing is working. My mom is here again today watching the kids while I stay in bed on my oxygen. Still not feeling well, I called my doctor at Emory and she wants to admit me to the hospital again to give me IV diurectics and do some blood work. I will be there about 2-3 days and no longer I hope. Once again I must explain to my kids that mommy has to go see her doctor and will not be home tonight. They will spend the night with good 'ol nana and papa tonight. They love going to their house. I'll miss them.

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7.4.06 - I spent the 4th of July at the lake with my family. I did not feel well at all. I can not really be out in the heat anymore because of my meds and oxygen so I stayed in the house most of the time. I went out for a few minutes to see my precious kids swim and play. They are having a blast and I'm glad.

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6.26.06 - Well it's official, I'm on the "ready" list for the heart-double lung transplant. I could get the call at anytime. I spoke to my transplant coordinator over the phone, she went over all the things I have to bring when I get the call. I guess it will not hit me until I get the call.